Although the Chelsea hierarchy have been quick to quash rumours that Carlo Ancelotti may be on the verge of leaving Stamford Bridge, 3 defeats in the last 4 games coupled with the shock departure of Ancelotti’s trusted right-hand man, Ray Wilkins, have clearly left the club in turmoil, and cast doubt over the Italian’s future.
Chelsea look a shadow of the team which hit 21 goals in their first 5 Premier League matches, and the goal difference built up in those early displays is now all that separates the current champions from title rivals Manchester United.
With the January transfer window looming, Roman Abramovich may decide to dispense with Ancelotti’s services and bring in a new manager, in time to re-build a squad which looks weaker by the day and get Chelsea’s title challenge back on track.
So, who could be top of Abramovich’s wish list?
1. Josep Guardiola. In just very short time, the Spaniard has written his Barcelona side into the record books, winning the first ever sextuple in his first two years in charge, including retaining the La Liga title and winning the Champions League. European glory is the one accolade which still eludes Abramovich, and he may well see Guardiola as the ideal man to deliver the trophy.
2. Sven-Goran Eriksson. Abramovich’s original choice to take over from Claudio Ranieri. On a domestic level, the Swede remains one of the most respected tacticians around, and Chelsea may yet complete a deal for him, albeit several years late.
3. Avram Grant. Many feel Grant’s dismissal was a very unfair reflection of his managerial performance, and the current West Ham manager came within a whisker of bringing Champions League glory to Chelsea, who also missed out on the Premiership title by a mere point that year. Grant’s future at West Ham is hanging in the balance, and Abramovich could admit to his mistake and give Grant another chance at Chelsea.
4. Arsene Wenger. Stranger things have happened, and in an ideal world, the Arsenal manager would probably be Abramovich’s first choice, or any chairman’s, come to that. Chelsea’s ales pitch would have to be very impressive to tempt Arsene away from the Emirates, but the old adage is true: everybody has their price.
5. Rafael Benitez. If Chelsea are looking to shake things up, who better than Rafa? The former Liverpool boss has hardly enjoyed a successful start to his tenure at Inter Milan, and would perhaps welcome a return to the league he knows so well. A Chelsea team managed by Benitez would certainly inject some passion into every encounter with United or Liverpool, and having been Chelsea’s nemesis on more than one occasion in the Champions League, Benitez could also be the right man to take Chelsea all the way in Europe.
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