Could Chelsea attempt to prize Javi Gracia away from Watford?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 31 May 2019, 10:34

Chelsea have yet to confirm whether Maurizio Sarri is staying or leaving following the club’s Europa League success.

The Blues boss, fresh after winning the first trophy of his managerial career, is said to have already agreed on a three-year deal in principle with Italian giants Juventus, as reported by the Daily Mail.

If Sarri does decide to return to his homeland after a year in England he can look back on a successful season during which he also led Chelsea to 3rd in the Premier League and through to the League Cup final. Not to mention the record he broke at the start of the season when he became the first manager to go unbeaten in his opening 12 games at a Premier League club.

David Luiz, who has now won five trophies at Chelsea, is hopeful that the Italian does opt to stay at Stamford Bridge:

"He is a great person, a great guy, a great manager and we finished in the best way for him because we finished winning a trophy in his way," in quotes via the Metro.

"It is for the club to decide, but I am so happy with him. Sometimes we are with the guys we work with more than our families.

"We make some connections. I think Maurizio did that with us. He has some connections with us, that’s why he loves this group."

Chelsea legend and current Derby boss Frank Lampard remains the odds-on favourite in the next Chelsea manager market. The 40-year-old enjoyed a decent debut season in the managerial arena, leading the Rams to the play-off final, only to lose out to Dean Smith’s Aston Villa.

Whether he feels ready, or Chelsea feel that he’s ready, to make the step up into the hot seat is open to debate.

One interesting name that has been catapulted into contention in the betting is Javi Gracia after Paddy Power slashed his odds from 33/1 to 2/1.

The tactically astute and softly spoken Gracia, the ante-post 6/1 favourite to be the first manager sacked last season, exceeded all expectations as Watford reached their first FA Cup final since 1984, and he propelled the club to their highest-ever Premier League finish and points tally (11th & 50).

Back in November he penned a new four-and-half-year deal through to 2023, becoming the first Watford boss to sign a contract extension in the Pozzo family era (2012-).

Gracia’s ability to get the best out of players makes him an attractive proposition considering that Chelsea are banned from the next couple of transfer windows.

“All coaches are different but he is one of the best coaches I have had. He is up there with Didier Deschamps and Mauricio Pochettino,” Hornets player Etienne Capoue revealed recently.

Other bookies make Nice manager Patrick Vieira a 7/2 contender with former Juventus head coach Max Allegri a 9/1 shot, while Nuno Santo is available at 16/1.

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