Why Roman Abramovich needs to tread carefully when appointing his next Chelsea manager

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 04 June 2019, 15:09

Just as the Tories have never really replaced Margaret Thatcher, Chelsea are yet to find somebody to lead them like Jose Mourinho.

Whether there is something in the colour blue or just sheer coincidence won’t ever be proven but as with today’s Conservatives, Chelsea are engulfed in another leadership crisis.

It says something about a club when a manager who has finished third in the Premier League, won his first ever trophy as a coach and secured a return to the Champions League, wants out.

But that’s just how it is looking as momentum gathers behind growing speculation that Maurizio Sarri is going to quit Chelsea to take over at Juventus.

In doing so it will leave a power vacuum and no natural successor - much like Theresa May’s imminent abdication as Tory supremo and British Prime Minister.

The hapless Mrs May is failing to deliver Brexit. Sarri took Chelsea all the way in Europe. Both are walking away from their respective jobs leaving their respective organisations in a bit of a mess.

Nobody really cares what happens to the Tories as they’re all much the same that lot. But if Chelsea aren’t careful they could end up with a Boris Johnson.

And looking back over time there is just something about brand Chelsea that just doesn’t inspire loyalty or long-service - much like the blue lot in Westminster.

Managers come and go with the changing of the seasons at Stamford Bridge. Thankfully the football seasons and not spring, summer, autumn and winter - at least not yet. But the turnover is spectacular nonetheless.

Supporters of the line ‘em up and sack ‘em quick policy will point to Chelsea’s haul of trophies compared to their Premier League rivals.

The Europa League is Chelsea’s third big cup in as many years, following the Premier League and FA Cup. So does it work?

The difference between them, Arsenal and Tottenham though is that Chelsea have been blessed with the unique talents of Eden Hazard.

Hazard is far and away the most valuable player at any of those three clubs. It could be argued he is the most important individual asset at any Premier League team.

What could Liverpool have achieved in the last few years had Hazard been a red?

Would Manchester City be European champions by now?

All of it debatable but with Hazard also heading out of Stamford Bridge it will leave the kind of gap no one manager can fill at a stroke. So the belief that Chelsea can win because of their fluid managerial policy will be put to a stern test.

Maurizio Sarri is the fourth manager that Hazard has played for during seven years at the club. He is also widely acknowledged by the players as the best to work with and most popular.

Yet the Italian wants to leave after 11 months in charge, having transformed a team which finished fifth and 30 points behind the champions into one on a definite upward curve.

It looks a perfect match yet it all appears to be crumbling again in typical Chelsea fashion.

Just as it did with spiky Antonio Conte’s bitter sacking, the axing of Jose Mourinho for a second time, the failed Roberto di Matteo and the out-of-his depth Andre Villas-Boas.

 

Trawl further back to Felipe Scolari’s brief, embarrassing reign and the disaster of Avram Grant. Then we’re back to Mourinho’s first triumphant reign who swept in like Thatcher did in 1979 and revolutionised Chelsea in the way of the Iron Lady.

For those of us who admire loyalty but see it as a two-way street, Chelsea’s success is an uncomfortable truth.

Just as you start to get to know a manager or ‘head coach’ as they are called nowadays, he disappears. Seeing the players lift a cup despite all this is just as depressing.

But with Hazard now with his head and heart at Real Madrid and soon his boots will follow, Chelsea won’t have that fall back of guaranteed goals and assists to prop up regime change.

All of which means club owner Roman Abramovich needs to tread carefully when appointing his next manager.

For although the Russian is used to it by now this one will be overseeing a club with big ideas but limited spending power, a looming transfer ban and a reliance on young players coming through the ranks.

Like the Tories he doesn’t want to end up with Jeremy Hunt.

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Darren Moore
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