Maurizio Sarri’s reign at Chelsea is soon to end it seems but he cleared one thing up during his time at Stamford Bridge: a player doesn’t have to accept being substituted. We and Sarri found that out the hard way at Wembley when Kepa refused to accept being hooked.
It summed up the disarray into which his reign in West London has slipped. Last week’s home matches against Manchester United and Malmo both saw dissent from the faithful over the style of football. For a club which watched Jose Mourinho’s side play without guile or grace, calling Sarri’s football “boring” is quite some criticism.
All this from a man whose Napoli team were one of the most vibrant attacking sides in European football.
As it is the odds are already out for the Italian’s replacement; we look at the candidates already in the frame for the Chelsea job.
The Hot-Seat Hotshots
A former Chelsea reserve team boss who also had a spell as caretaker manager, Holland is the current favourite – 7/4 with Skybet – to replace Sarri. Currently serving as Gareth Southgate’s assistant with England, Holland was credited with developing the Three Lions run to the World Cup semi-final last summer.
As assistant manager with the Blues, he served alongside Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto di Matteo, Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Antonio Conte. It puts him front and centre when the club’s trophy room is surveyed with the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League (2), FA Cup and League Cup, as well as Premier Reserve League.
Best odds on becoming next Chelsea manager: 4/1 with Betfair
One of the finest footballers in the history of the game, and at Real Madrid proved to be some coach. But Chelsea is different. Subject to appeal, the squad is what it is thanks to FIFA’s two-window transfer ban.
Eden Hazard is expected to jump ship to the Bernabeu this summer with Christian Pulisic coming in to replace him. Calum Hudson-Odoi wants out of Stamford Bridge and handed in a transfer request already. The rest of the ‘new’ faces come from the academy sides.
That’s it; let’s see how good you really are, Zizou.
Best odds on becoming next Chelsea manager: 11/2 with Betfair
Like Holland, Zola is a Chelsea assistant manager. His appointment was made for Sarri, connecting with the manager culturally and the players as a club legend.
His managerial record is the millstone around his neck; no trophies and before Chelsea, no big club experience. His only reign which lasted beyond one season was at West Ham in 2008-10; he may be incumbent but seems unlikely to take the top job this time around.
Best odds on becoming next Chelsea manager: 6/1 with Skybet
Former Blues With An Outsider’s Chance
There is, of course, Brendan Rodgers inexplicably took the Leicester City job and left Celtic in the lurch. I know the Foxes are a challenge but really?
Staying in the Scottish Premiership, Kilmarnock boss and former assistant to Jose Mourinho, Steve Clarke (20/1 with Skybet) is in the running given how well he has performed with Killie.
John Terry’s lack of managerial experience isn’t stopping Skybet quoting him at 25/1 while Frank Lampard Jr is 33/1 with Unibet. Fans with older memories will remember Didier Deschamps time with the club although nobody seriously expects him to leave the French job; 25/1 with BetVictor, if you think he will.
Other Names In The Frame?
There are few surprises among the list of potential managers being touted as Sarri’s replacement. Nuno Espirito Santo has impressed at Wolves this season but not enough it seems to make him anything other than an outsider (25/1 with BetVictor).
Mikel Arteta almost landed the Arsenal job last summer and is a definite dark horse (15/2 with Paddy Power) to take his Lego-coiffured hair to Stamford Bridge while Diego Simeone and Sean Dyche are less favoured at 25/1 and 33/1 respectively, with BetVictor, whose range of odds is the biggest offering in this market.
But if Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich feels inclined to mess with the heads of the club’s fans, he could appoint Jose Mourinho (18/1 with Paddy Power) or how about a manager with proven experience in developing youth and bringing it into the first team? Do you think the Matthew Harding Stand will still want Arsene Wenger (50/1 with BetVictor) to stay…?