“Where do we go from here? the words are coming out all weird, where are you now, when I need you” the Radiohead lyrics to the Bends could have been played yesterday on Roman Abramovich’s yacht and they would have been very apt. The chase for the most coveted coach in world football had just ended and Chelsea had lost.
Pep Guardiola’s decision to opt for Bayern Munich over Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United was a kick in the proverbial balls for the self proclaimed biggest league in the world but for Roman it was more than that. Drawing Board supplier’s must relish the business they get from the Chelsea board room’s such is the swinging door system that operates for their managers.
The decision in November to appoint Rafa Benitez on a short term contract pointed to the big summer appointment of the former Barcelona man and with it a new glorious era of tika-tika football built on the wonderful academy that has been put in place.
Now Pep is gone and Rafa could well be gone too. Chelsea have not improved under the former Liverpool manager and Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton, a third home game without a win, has left well Chelsea 13 points off the top of the Premier League. If a Champions League trophy cannot guarantee longetivity then a league cup, FA Cup or Europa League will hardly suffice.
So what does the Guardiola decision mean for English football and the man himself. Well once Roman has dried his eyes, he will assess his options and its seem that option is either Jose Mourinho or Jurgen Klopp.
Struggling in Spain and itching for a return to English football Mourinho appears the only character to be able to work alongside the Russian. It could be a glorious second coming but this is a different Chelsea team to the one he inherited and left. Come June, there will be no Frank Lampard while Mr. Chelsea, John Terry is slowly coming to the end of a top flight career.
On the plus side, and it’s a very big plus, this Chelsea side is littered with young attacking talent. Juan Mata, Oscar, Victor Moses, Eden Hazard and the elder statesmen Demba Ba and Fernando Torres means that there is goals in this team.
The appointment of Guardiola not to mention the constant raiding of his succesful Dortmund side could well convince Klopp that the time is right to leave German Football for pastures new. Champions the last two seasons, Dortmund are currently 12 points behind Bayern and their stylish qualification for the knock out stages in the Champions League has only heightened the expectation that stars such as Robert Lewandowski, Neven Subotic, Marco Reus, Sven Bender and Mats Hummels could leave in the the summer.
Much like Europe’s top players, the destination of Europe’s top managers is very limited and it’s expected that whoever is linked with Chelsea will no doubt be linked with Manchester City. The defending English Champions will almost certainly rival any move for the Portuguese should he become available. They have the money and at the moment they have the backbone of a great team. Mourinho likes to take on projects that almost guarantee success and City would offer that.
With Sir Alex Ferguson going nowhere for the moment the Manchester United job is not even up for discussion. So back to Pep.
I am going to go all conspiracy theory like here for a moment. During the press conference annoucing the appointment of Guardiola it was revealed that the deal with Bayern Munich had been in place since before Christmas. Given that Ferguson flew to New York and alledgedly met the Spaniard, its possible the German move might have cropped up over a nice bottle of red wine.
July 2016 is when the contract ends and call me sceptical but that would tie in nicely with the retirement of the real Special One. Three more years and in the meantime Guardiola has the opportunity to add to the 14 trophies he won with Barcelona in the comfortable surroundings of the Bundesliga. Everyone is a winner.
Except of course Abramovich. Back on his yacht the next song he should put on his play list should be another Radiohead classic, No (more) surprises.