Chelsea are in a crisis. There’s no way around that. It’s not an uncommon situation for the Blues to be in, but there’s a sense that its worse at Chelsea now than it has been in a while. With the manager deflecting blame, the players not performing, and the fans clearly incensed, it’s fair to say that Chelsea are at a crossroads.
A wrong step at this stage could make Chelsea’s season go from bad to worse, and at this stage, they cannot afford for that to happen. They’ve fallen enough as it is; any more and they could sink.
Naturally, all the talk over the last few days – given Chelsea’s results – has been about the managerial situation. Maurizio Sarri knew what he was getting in to at Stamford Bridge, owing to the Blues’ recent managerial history, but you’d think that he expected not to be facing the ever-revolving door so soon. He’s not even been at Chelsea for a year, yet you get the feeling that change is forthcoming.
According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are considering moves for both Zinedine Zidane and former Blue Frank Lampard if they decide to sack Maurizio Sarri. You get the feeling that another 2 or 3 poor results could seal the Italian’s fate, and that will leave the Blues with another difficult decision to make as they look to replace him.
Both Zidane and Lampard would likely be popular choices with fans, but the reality is that neither man alone would really solve the problems that have befallen the Blues in recent years.
That’s because, despite popular opinion that managerial incompetence is what is holding Chelsea back, the reality is that it goes far beyond that. Sure, in recent years, managers have changed, and players have come and gone, but the one thing that Chelsea have really lacked is leadership.
Look back to Chelsea’s most dominant period in the decade following Roman Abramovich’s arrival. There were some huge personalities on display at the club, from Ashley Cole, to Frank Lampard, to Petr Cech, to Didier Drogba. Sure, Chelsea had fantastic players, but the leaders were what held the team together; and those leaders are precariously absent this season. In fact, one of the few remaining players from that era – Gary Cahill – has, according to the Telegraph, been largely excluded from the first team by Maurizio Sarri, which only highlights the issue at hand.
So, whilst a new manager could help improve things, the reality is that Chelsea’s real problems go beyond that; and so until that issue is solved, the Blues will continue to be inconsistent. That’s the reason why Chelsea must look to bring back the best leader they’ve ever had – John Terry.
Terry is currently the assistant manager of Aston Villa, but it’s hard to believe that he would be able to turn down the prospect of returning to Stamford Bridge, and so for Chelsea, this is a no brainer.
He’s best known, of course, for his time at Stamford Bridge, for much of which he was the club captain. He led the team through their most successful period in history, and though he’ll be remembered for his ability – he remains one of England’s best ever defenders – it’s his leadership that was even more important for Chelsea. When things weren’t going well for the Blues, he was the man charged with turning it around, and more often than not, that’s exactly what he did.
It’s no surprise that Chelsea fell apart last season after his departure; because they had nobody to replace his desire and passion.
There’s no greater showing of his love for the club than his recent return trip back to Chelsea’s training base, Cobham, too. The Englishman was one of a few Stamford Bridge legends to be in attendance to watch Chelsea’s developmental team in the UEFA Youth League. It speaks volumes that Terry was present whilst Maurizio Sarri wasn’t – and that shows a core difference between the two men. This also highlights that the Englishman is embedded within the very core of the club, and that’s the sort of person that the Blues need to lead them into the next generation.
Not only would Terry serve as a brilliant tactical brain for any prospective Chelsea boss, but even more so, he’d be a reliable and impassioned voice in the dressing room. No amount of managerial talent can provide that; and so regardless of how much money Chelsea pay, they won’t be able to buy someone like Terry. He’s simply born to be at Chelsea long-term.
Significantly, there’s a gap for him in the squad, too. Steve Holland left Chelsea back in 2017 to link up with the England national team with Gareth Southgate, and he largely served as that link between the players and the management. Since his departure, Chelsea have lacked that presence – and not even Gianfranco Zola or Carlo Cudicini have been able to fill the gap. Terry, though, would be ideal.
Chelsea’s next managerial move is important, make no mistake, but perhaps even more so is the Blues need to bring back one of the most influential figures in their history.