The writing appears to be on the wall for Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea as the pressure appears to continue to be taken up a notch following the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.
The Italian has struggled to build on his impressive 18-game unbeaten start and it appears his playing style – once affectionally known as ‘Sarri-ball’ – has been figured out by almost everyone in the Premier League, having won just two of their last five top-flight matches.
The former Napoli boss still has the chance to lift his first trophy in football at the weekend when Chelsea meet Manchester City in the League Cup, however, the 6-0 defeat a few weeks ago to the same opponents will not install too much confidence.
Coupled with the 4-0 defeat away from home to AFC Bournemouth and a 2-0 loss to Arsenal away from home, whilst mediocre showings against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup and Malmo in the Europa League on 14 February – a game which produced their first away goals of 2019 – things just have not gone well for him.
According to a report by Sky Sports, talks have already been held by Roman Abramovich and senior officials at Stamford Bridge about what they should do next, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Chelsea legends Gianfranco Zola and Frank Lampard being thrown into the mix as possible candidates – probably to echo the ‘feel good factor’ that Manchester United have enjoyed with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm.
However, there is one name that has not been mentioned that should be thrown into the hat as one to seriously consider, especially if they are going to go down a route whereby they hire a manager who is yet to win silverware – excluding Zidane, obviously.
Nuno Espirito Santo has been performing nothing short of a miracle at Wolverhampton Wanderers this season as they have become one of the Premier League’s standout sides this season.
Having successfully guided them from the Championship – in which they blew away the majority of the competition – they have managed to continue that fine form in England’s top-flight and look set to be within a chance of finishing seventh, which could lead to a Europa League spot.
With Nuno at the helm, Molineux has turned into a fortress and a number of teams have found it extremely difficult to come away from there with points this season, with the likes of Manchester City having to settle for a draw.
Wolves are just one point from matching their best ever tally in the Premier League, something the Portuguese manager will likely have only hoped his side would have achieved with 12 games still left to go.
Admittedly, he does share some rather concerning comparisons with Sarri when it comes down to things on the pitch.
Firstly, although he won the Championship last season, Nuno does not have much experience of coaching a side used to winning major trophies, although his Wolves side are still within a very good chance of lifting the FA Cup.
Another issue that could be of concern is his tactics and the stubbornness he has shown in utilising them.
Sarri continues to use his, despite the poor performances and results, whilst Nuno is the same and has found it difficult to get past some of the ‘lesser’ sides in the division at times, although they have worked remarkably well against the ‘top-six’.
There is an argument that the Wolves boss is still a little raw and may not be ready to make the jump up to a side with Chelsea’s quality.
However, it is not like he does not have the quality at Molineux, with the likes of Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez all starring for the club, whilst his links with ‘super agent’ Jorge Mendes would be favourable.
But, if Abramovich and the Chelsea hierarchy are considering to bring the likes of Lampard and Zola as a potential successor to Sarri, then Nuno must surely be a name that needs to be discussed.
Chelsea fans – thoughts?