According to reports in the Daily Mirror today, former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is being lined up to replace current Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas on a temporary deal until the end of the season should Roman Abramovich’s sword fall once again.
The former Liverpool, Valencia, and Inter Milan manager is well known for his successes in the Champions League and domestic leagues. He orchestrated the famous comeback during the 2005 Champions League final in which Liverpool recovered from 3-0 down to lift the famous old trophy.
AVB’s problems have been well publicised, with problems both on and off the pitch, and although AVB believes Roman Abramovich has give him his full support, the russian billionaires track record suggests his patience is limitted.
Rafa Benitez has been shortlisted along with Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa and former England manager Fabio Capello. Although Capello has ruled out any part-time move and insists his next job will be a permanent position.
Roman Abramovich’s obsession with the Champions League is no secret and rumours are spreading that if Chelsea fail to fend off Napoli then AVB’s tether will be cut.
With success in the Champions League top priority for the Chelsea owner it would seem Benitez would fit the bill, having won the trophy with Liverpool when they were considered under-dogs for the competition and reaching the final again two years later. Benitez was also the manager under which mis-firing Chelsea forward Fernando Torres flourished.
Benitez would certainly demand more respect from the Chelsea old guard – the likes of Drogba, Terry, and Lampard – due to his success, reputation and character.
Is he a better man to take Chelsea through this period of transition? In my opinion, during a period like Chelsea’s current position an older head running the ship, knowing how to remove the older players gracefully whilst still seeing the best of them when they play and bringing through younger players at the same time moves more smoothly as players respect the manager and his decisions.
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