Pep Guardiola? Return of Carlo Ancelotti? Five top picks to replace Jose Mourinho at Chelsea
As the pressure cranks up on Jose Mourinho following another Premier League defeat, Jon Turner picks his five leading candidates that could take over at Chelsea should the Portuguese leave the role.
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Until his future at Bayern Munich is settled, Guardiola will be linked with every major job in world football (aside from Real Madrid) and for good reason. A notoriously hard-working and intense manager, Guardiola led Barcelona to unprecedented success and an enviable trophy haul during a four-year reign. In 2013 and after a one-year hiatus, Bayern made Guardiola the world’s highest-paid manager and the Spaniard has continued the club’s monopoly of the Bundesliga, although a Uefa Champions League title has so far eluded him during his time in Germany. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich previously attempted to lure Guardiola to London during his one-year break, and the Russian billionaire will hope his club are among those under consideration should Guardiola depart the Allianz-Arena next summer. The big problem Chelsea face is competition for Guardiola’s services. Manchesters United and City are likely to be leading candidates, while Guardiola is unlikely to be tempted by a club where the manager’s position is in a constant state of uncertainty. A dream appointment for Chelsea that would prove they have retained their pulling power despite this season’s nightmare, but would be a major coup.
Another manager to have enjoyed remarkable success in Spain, Simeone has established a reputation as one of the world’s finest managers thanks to his exploits with Atletico Madrid. Known for instilling a stamina-based, heavy-pressing style, Simeone snapped the Barcelona-Real Madrid duopoloy in 2013/14 by winning the Primera Liga. During his time in the Spanish capital, Simeone has also guided Atletico to the Uefa Europa League title and the Copa del Rey. Many onlookers believe Simeone has taken Atletico as far as he can, although they are currently joint-top of the league alongside Barcelona, and a move to a more financially-powerful club would be his just reward for his work at the Vicente Calderon. Chelsea would be a seemingly good fit for both club and manager, with the English side keen for Simeone to transfer his Liga success to the Premier League, while no longer battling against financial constraints would be welcome by Simeone. A leading contender.
Frank de Boer
A manager surely destined for big things, De Boer has led Ajax to four straight Eredivisie titles (with a fifth beckoning), despite having to contend with the constant departure of key players each year.
While a young and relatively inexperienced coach, De Boer has already beeen courted by Liverpool, although he refused the chance to interview for the role. His lack of experience in the latter stages of the Champions League will also concern Chelsea but his emphasis on fluid, attractive football will continue to win De Boer admirers. An unlikely outsider, although if Chelsea decide to take the route they once did with Andre Villas-Boas and appoint an exciting, young coach, there are none better than De Boer.
Perhaps not as glamorous a managerial name as others on this list, but Koeman would be a shrewd appointement at Chelsea. With his experience and relative success in the Premier League – where he led Southampton to a seventh place finish in his first season following the departure of a host of key players – Koeman deserves to be in the reckoning. A steadying hand as well as an adovcate of fast-paced, attractive football, the Dutchman could demonstrate his talents on a larger scale should he be given the financial backing of Abramovich. Another outside shout like De Boer, but if Chelsea fail in their more high-profile targets, they could do a lot worse than put in a call for Koeman.
He wouldn’t, would he? Since Mourinho first left Chelsea in 2007, Ancelotti is the only other manager to have truly captured the hearts of the Stamford Bridge faithful quite like “The Special One”. His first season at Chelsea was an incredible one for the Italian, winning the Premier League and FA Cup double while encouraging a scintillating brand of football, and all without the bottomless pit of transfer cash afforded to his predecessors. However, failure to defend the Premier League title the following season cost Ancelotti his job before he went on to more success at Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. While undoubtedly a fine coach and tactician, Ancelotti’s greatest strength is in his man-management, with his ability to unite dressing rooms key to his team’s on-field success. Chelsea fans want nothing more than for Mourinho to succeed, but should the Portuguese leave, the blow would be softened by the return of Ancelotti.
Updated: December 15, 2015 04:00 AM