Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What's next?

What's next?

    Last week it was Allegri, yesterday it was Simeone, today it's Conte and tomorrow it's Sampaoli with a hint of Pochettino. The race to manage Chelsea Football Club seems to have gathered momentum. I have a perfect solution. The club invites the five men into Cobham HQ and sets out challenges to test the character of these five masterminds. The one who wins must have the key to unlocking Eden Hazard.

   Dear oh dear.  

   I made a somewhat foolish bet with a friend of mine, which stated, that Eden Hazard will score in either of the PSG games. Substituted after 58 minutes for Oscar in the first leg, was not in my plans. Roll back the clock twelve months ago and Eden Hazard was tearing teams apart. A great mystery of the declining Eden Hazard. Having said this, he did score a beautiful goal against Man City, curling a free kick into the bottom right-hand corner, a little reminiscent of Frank Lampard's goal against Tottenham in the 2012 semi-final of the Fa Cup.

   In terms of the manager front, Italy national coach, Antonio Conte seems to be the front runner for now. Having stated that he will step down from his national duties after Euro 2016, Conte will be free to find a job elsewhere. Chelsea, want to announce the manager in March, allowing them preparation ahead of the summer transfer window and a settling down period.

   I think most of the Chelsea faithful, see Diego Simeone as the ideal replacement for Jose Mourinho. However, the Argentinian seems to have found a home at the Vicente Calderon. There will need to be a lot of convincing involved to lure him away from Spain.

   As for second choice, Antonio Conte has my vote. The Italian revolutionised a lacklustre Juventus side, transforming them into a formidable force, which had bite, panache and adaptability in different situations. In his three seasons in charge of Juventus, he won the Serie A title, thrice. His feat in the Champions League however, is somewhat worse, only reaching the quarter-finals on one occasion. This would need to be improved as Mr Abramovich does not hold out for long. Never the less, Conte seems to have the edge on other managers. Allegri and Pochettino, like Simeone have contracts with clubs and that would mean paying compensation fees, Sampaoli, although in the frame, is a big risk, having never managed in Europe. I personally, would be hesitant to employ a manager with no experience in the top flight.

   In terms of summer arrivals, a combative centre midfielder is needed to replace Ramires, who recently departed to China. Radja Nainggolan, Arturo Vidal and Blaise Matuidi are the names being linked. Any of three would be perfect to shore up a deflated midfield, which has lacked their defensive abilities of last season.

   Other areas of strengthening would need to need to be looked into, after the imminent departures of the few, who only crave Champions League football.  

   A bright spark, that I would be grateful to see get opportunities next season at Stamford Bridge, is Charley Musonda Jr. The on-loan Real Betis midfielder has been in good form for his current side and would provide much needed competition for the attacking midfielder role.

   However, this is all planning for next season, there is still three months to go in this campaign...and Chelsea could still end the season with a trophy!

Top left: Simeone  Top right: Conte
Bottom left: Sampaoli Bottom right: Allegri

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