Jose Mourinho’s sacking was on cards for quite a while as the Portuguese failed to rescue club’s sinking title campaign and owner Roman Abramovich was not going to wait on the sidelines for long. Even though the Blues officially backed their manager only a few weeks ago, it was a last warning for the manager to improve or face the sack. Mourinho seemed undone by his own dressing room, which will now welcome a new permanent boss.
Welcoming new managers is certainly not new to Chelsea, especially under Abramovich. For the time being, an experienced hand Guus Hiddink has been appointed as the interim coach. The veteran Dutch manager knows Chelsea well after having been in a similar position in 2009 when he guided the West Londoners to FA Cup victory and near qualification for the Champions League final bar some controversial refereeing decisions in the semi-final against Barcelona.
Hiddink is a close friend of Abramovich and it seems that he is back at the club once again to help the Russian. This new association is strictly seen as a help rather than a long-term commitment. Chelsea have kept their options open by announcing Hiddink as the interim until the end of the season. An appointment has been made for now, but who will be the permanent replacement for Mourinho?
Undoubtedly the biggest name that is going to be available in the summer since he is expected to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season. Guardiola has decided against renewing his contract with the German club. The contract expires in June. According to the Guardian, the Germans are widely expected to announce Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager. Ancelotti has been free since leaving Real Madrid in the summer.
Only a few weeks ago, Ancelotti stated that he would be open to a Chelsea return. The Blues are likely to shift the full focus on convincing Guardiola about a move to Stamford Bridge. The reigning champions have previously failed to get the former Barcelona manager. It is also not sure whether Guardiola will go straight to a new club or take a year-long sabbatical as he did after leaving Barcelona.
Both Manchester clubs – City and the United – are rumoured to be heading the race to sign Guardiola.
Of course, he is the interim option but there is every possibility of Hiddink staying on. The Dutchman became an overwhelming favourite in his first spell so much so that he was persuaded a lot to consider staying on back then. A man of his word, he returned to the Russian national team to fulfil his commitments. Hiddink has no such commitments anymore and is unlikely to be pressurised by many at the end of the season.
Hiddink recently left his role as the Dutch national team boss after having witnessed one of the worst spells for the national team. They failed to qualify for the Euro 2016 after winning just four out of the 10 games after taking over from Louis Van Gaal.
His recent record at club and international level is certainly not promising, but Hiddink has the quality to succeed at any level. His management style involves providing players the freedom to express themselves on the pitch and this might just appeal to the likes of Eden Hazard, who has been tied down by the defensive requirements of Mourinho.
After experiencing success with former greats like Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea may just be tempted to give John Terry an opportunity. The defender is fast approaching the end of his career and it looks highly unlikely that he will join an MLS outfit if the opportunity to manage Chelsea arises. On paper, he may have zero experience of managing a club so far, but he was instrumental – along with the likes of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba – in keeping the club going during several times of turmoil in the last decade.
Terry is Chelsea through and through and still commands a lot of respect at the club. However, captaining the team and managing it are two different elements of the game. Being successful as a manager at a big club without any prior experience will take a lot of doing.
The Atletico Madrid manager has catapulted himself into one of the finest in recent times after managing to transform a club, which has been on a shoestring budget, into title winners. Simeone, though, has a lot of love for Atletico and is unlikely to leave the Spanish club unless there is a sea change between now and the summer. Further, he has enjoyed success at the Spanish outfit partly because of his prior relationship with the club as a player. He remains untested outside the walls of the Vicente Calderon in European football.
Unlike in the past, there is a real shortage of top managers right now. which could force the club to work within the means. Abramovich will be hoping that some top choice comes about in the next six months.