Who next for Chelsea?
The exit of Maurizio Sarri, who will be joining Serie A champions Juventus, means that Chelsea are now looking for the 12th manager of the Roman Abramovich era.
The Russian billionaire, who took over the club in 2003, has presided over an unprecedented period of success in west London. Over that period, they have only once failed to win or finish second in a major tournament or reach the last four in Europe. During that time, a Chelsea team have finished the campaign without a trophy in only five seasons.
However, that success has taken a toll on the managerial position at the club, and once again this summer, the Chelsea hierarchy are searching for a permanent manager – the ninth in the last 16 years.
Sari’s decision to leave the club was relatively unusual in that he left to take up an arguably bigger job. Juventus have won the Serie A title for eight seasons in a row, and they will be the short-priced favourites with sports betting companies to do it again in 2019-20. That he never fully earned the support of the Chelsea fans will also have been a factor in his decision. However, his successor at Stamford Bridge will face the same pressure to achieve immediate success.
The leading candidate for the position is Chelsea legend Frank Lampard. The current Derby County manager, who led them to the Championship play-off final last season, won 11 major pieces of silverware during his time at Chelsea before leaving to play for Manchester City and New York City in the US. He would undoubtedly be a hugely popular choice for Chelsea fans and his history with the club may earn him a longer honeymoon period there than his predecessors.
There is another good reason why he could be the right fit for the club right now. Chelsea are under a transfer embargo, so the fact that Lampard has linked up with former Chelsea youth coach Jody Morris at Derby, and has utilised a number of young Chelsea loanees, may also count in his favour.
Lampard isn’t the only candidate likely to be on the shortlist. Former Arsenal star Patrick Vieira, who has managed with New York City and Nice, is another option, as are former Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc, Wolves boss Nuno Espírito Santo, and former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Words: Man Ngo