Arguably the hottest of hot seats in the world of football is vacant yet again after the young Andre Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea on Sunday. Here, Into The Top Corner looks at the ten leading contenders to become the eighth manager during Roman Abramovich’s ownership of the club.
Jose Mourinho: The Special One Returns sounds like a Hollywood movie but Chelsea fans will hope rumours of his return are not fiction. Villas-Boas was supposed to be Abramovich’s new Mourinho – an impossible task as it turned out – and now the owner may go back to a tried and tested formula despite the pair failing out. Mourinho had a special bond with the senior players during his three-year reign that brought two league titles, although should he return he would want an enormous war chest that could spell the end for the likes of Didier Drogba and John Terry.
SkyBet Odds – 15/8
Fabio Capello: Though a rather unpopular figure in England after a disappointing World Cup in 2010 and his resignation from the national job in February, Capello’s record at club level is almost peerless. He has won league trophies with Milan, Roma, Juventus and during two spells with Real Madrid, as well as winning the Champions League with Milan in 1994. Capello knows some of Chelsea’s senior players very well having managed John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole with England: indeed his loyalty to Terry forced his resignation on a point of principle when the defender was stripped of the captaincy. Capello had previously said the England job would be his last in management but a chance to return to club game at the elite level would surely appeal.
SkyBet Odds – 11/4
Rafa Benitez: Liverpool fans will always remember the goatee-bearded Spaniard for the improbable Champions League triumph over AC Milan in 2005 but a lack of Premier League success and a dreadful spell at Inter Milan haunt him. However, his stock at Anfield has risen since his departure given Liverpool’s continued troubles and while Chelsea fans might question the style of football Benitez might serve up, he has the personality to deal with the senior players in the dressing room. He could also be the man to reboot misfiring striker Fernando Torres, having signed him for Liverpool.
SkyBet Odds – 4/1
Pep Guardiola: Barcelona’s boss is rumoured to be leaving the Nou Camp at the end of the season with no new contract signed and FIFA’s World Coach of the Year would be a popular choice as Chelsea manager. However, at Barca he merely had to conduct the orchestra having inherited a squad of talented players in their prime while at Chelsea he would have to swap the baton for a sledgehammer as he begins a major re-building project.
SkyBet Odds – 4/1
Roberto Di Matteo: Deemed not good enough to keep his job at West Brom last season, Di Matteo now has an unexpected chance to press his claims for arguably English football’s most difficult managerial job. If the Italian secures Champions League football for next season and enjoys success in the cup competitions then perhaps Abramovich will be convinced of his suitability for the role. However, Avram Grant was elbowed aside having reached the Champions League final in the wake of Mourinho’s exit and it would surely take something spectacular for the Italian to secure the job on a long-term basis, despite his status as a fan favourite due to his successful playing career at Stamford Bridge between 1996 and 2002.
SkyBet Odds – 8/1
Marcelo Biesla: Atletico Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa is the shock name on Chelsea’s hit list to replace Andre Villas-Boas. Ex-Argentina boss Bielsa, 56, is regarded as an innovator, is vastly experienced and has a strong reputation within the game. Bielsa managed Argentina between 1998 and 2004, winning an Olympic gold in Athens, and then earned acclaim for the style with which his team performed in his subsequent role as Chile manager between 2007 and 2011. Appointed at Athletic Bilbao last summer, he has the Basque side fighting hard for fourth place as well as looking forward to a Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and a Europa League contest with Manchester United.
SkyBet Odds – 16/1
Guus Hiddink: The popular Dutchman has the best win percentage of Abramovich’s managers, even better than Mourinho, albeit during a brief spell as temporary coach. He steered Chelsea to a 2009 FA Cup triumph and Champions League semi-final before returning to his job as Russia coach. The sticking point would be pricing him away from FC Anzhi Makhachkala, the mega-rich Russian club who have made him the highest paid coach in world football only recently.
SkyBet Odds – 16/1
Harry Redknapp: A long shot but a logical choice for Abramovich. Tottenham fans are already resigned to losing their manager to England — but losing him to Chelsea would be unthinkable. His relationship with Abramovich would be interesting but has a proven track record of turning round teams’ fortunes and fuelling players with confidence. He would be the first Englishman to boss Chelsea since Glenn Hoddle in 1996.
SkyBet Odds – 18/1
Didier Deschamps: A safe pair of hands. The astute Frenchman spent a year at Stamford Bridge as a player before a natural move into management. He impressed at Monaco by reaching a Champions League final, had a brief stint at Juventus taking them back up to Serie A and won Ligue 1 in 2010 with Olympique Marseille. Marseille have been up and down since but he could be the man for a long-term project.
SkyBet Odds – 20/1
Jurgen Klopp: The Borussia Dortmund boss is the perfect kind of manager Abramovich wanted Villas-Boas to be — young, energetic and a philosophy of quick passing high attack style. He has made his success out of developing young players at Dortmund. He led them to the Bundesliga title last season and the club are in pole position to defend their crown this time.
SkyBet odds – 20/1
All these names have been linked with the Chelsea job in the recent days, but nothing is yet confirmed. So who do you think or want to be the new Chelsea boss?