Chelsea's choices: Who will be Roman Abramovich's next manager?
Now that Pep Guardiola has spurned Chelsea's advances, Glenn Moore looks at the contenders Roman Abramovich has in mind to fill the Stamford Bridge hot seat
FOR The man in place, so he will know the problems confronting the club and has already begun working on them. Obviously trusted by Roman Abramovich as he was chosen to fill the breach after the Russian owner decided to dispense with his Champions League-winning manager Roberto Di Matteo earlier this season. Experienced Premier League and European campaigner who reached two Champions League finals with Liverpool, winning one, and won the Uefa Cup and La Liga while at Valencia. Tactically aware to the point of obsession.
AGAINST Chelsea's support detest him, even in a caretaker role, because of his association with Liverpool when the clubs were European rivals – and what he was purported to have said about the London side while he was in charge at Anfield. And the fans at Stamford Bridge have made this very clear. Regarded as a coach who creates functional rather than exciting teams, perhaps owing to obsession with tactics. Critics argue his European success with Liverpool was achieved with a team built by Gérard Houllier, and with a second-half recovery that owed more to the players than the coach. On the evidence of the last few months his fabled ability to get the best from Fernando Torres appears to have been overstated.
FOR The new Mourinho? Abramovich likes flavour-of-the-month coaches and the fiery German is the latest after the way his Dortmund team took Manchester City apart in Europe while qualifiying ahead of Real Madrid. Produces young, exciting and domestically successful teams playing to a high tempo despite a much smaller budget than rivals Bayern Munich. Always dressed in black (like Avram Grant, but much more stylishly), he behaves like a Teutonic Martin O'Neill on the touchline but, as with O'Neill, the antics hide a shrewd brain (Klopp has a degree in sports science and is a very lucid pundit). Yes, he may be unknown here, but so was Arsène Wenger when he arrived at Arsenal.
AGAINST No experience in England and limited success in Europe. It took Klopp two seasons before he turned Dortmund around, time he would not be given at Chelsea, given the owner's previous propensity to fire. Methods seem to work best with young players and he could clash with John Terry. But the man in black seems in no rush to leave the vibrant Bundesliga anyway, having already rebuffed Liverpool and recently emphasised he is under contract to 2016 and sees no reason to leave. Even more likely to stay put now he that can pit his wits against his new rival Pep Guardiola.
FOR Put himself in the frame last week when Swansea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to embellish an impressive first season in the Premier League. Has shown tactical acumen by adapting the Swansea passing model to enable the team to be more direct or more defensive as required. Success of Chico Flores and Michu suggests a shrewd eye in the transfer market. Has experience of being at big clubs, having played for Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid in a stellar career. Man-management also seems good, with the way he has kept Danny Graham on scoring form even after the player was pushed aside by Michu
AGAINST Managerial career promising but yet to live up to his playing record. Did well in Denmark but Brondby are a big fish in a very small pool; elsewhere has prospered at Getafe and Swansea but not in the more demanding environment of Spartak Moscow. Unlikely to covet the prospect of working at such an unstable club at Chelsea, having resigned at Mallorca in frustration at the working environment. Perhaps would be a contender for the Chelsea circus in a few years' time, once he has experienced the limelight at a bigger club than Swansea. Conversely, he is also contender to replace Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, which would surely be preferable to the Dane.
FOR Tactically sophisticated, good judge of a player, expert coach, steeped in both Spanish tiki-taka and, after playing in the lower divisions, English thud-and-blunder. Calm under pressure and able to lift his team after 9-0 and 8-0 defeats. Develops confident, patient, passing sides despite slim resources. Good with the media, polite to referees (mostly), popular with his peers – and all-round good egg. What's not to like?
AGAINST Yet to win any major honour – the only silverware he has won as a manager is the League One title with Swansea in 2008. Has no experience of coaching in European competition, all his top-flight experience is in fighting relegation battles and has a poor track record against the big clubs. Who knows what he would be like with a supposedly limitless budget? Plus, if asked, he could deliver Abramovich a hugely embarrassing snub, for he is young in managerial terms and may feel he is better off maintaining his development away from such an unstable club. Martinez has already chosen to reject Aston Villa and Liverpool to stay with Wigan. He made the decision to spurn Liverpool's advances, making the latter decision because he did not want to work with a director of football – pertinent, given the interference endured by Chelsea managers.
FOR Brilliant tactician and man-motivator. Built the spine of the Chelsea team that has won three league titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League, albeit not all under his command. Has also won league titles in Portugal, Italy and Spain, and the Champions League with Porto and Internazionale. The man wins silverware wherever he goes, at least up until he arrived at Real Madrid. The man who toppled Guardiola's Barcelona. Knows Chelsea and the Premier League and remains immensely popular with Stamford Bridge support. Will be available, as his relationship with Real Madrid is headed for a messy divorce, whatever happens in the Champions League.
AGAINST Very high-maintenance, as Abramovich knows having sacked him in 2007 after three tumultuous years. If he returns it is almost certain to lead to controversy before ending again in recriminations The Cech-Terry-Lampard-Drogba axis Mourinho constructed is slowly being broken up and he would be told to complete this process and continue the renewal embarked upon by Andre Villas-Boas and Di Matteo. But he develops counter-attacking teams rather than the ball-playing ones Abramovich appears to desire. Also has designs on succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
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