Speculation continues in the British media – and among Chelsea fans – as to who will replace Andre Villas-Boas as Chelsea Manager and will that change in leadership come on or before March 14th when the second leg Champions League tie takes place at Stamford Bridge?
It is almost universally accepted now that the Portuguese is effectively a ‘walking man dead’ .
Silence is not always golden and Villas-Boas’ plea for the ‘man upstairs’, in this case Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich , to give him that dreaded vote of confidence, has brought no response thus far.So is the Chelksea owner preparing to write off another £30million in compensation?
The British media is rife with speculation that former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is the front runner to replace the hapless Villas-Boas with the ‘ Daily Telegraph’ quoting insiders as saying that it was “75 per cent certain” that if a change was made, Chelsea would go for Benítez.
Abramovich though is surely unlikely to want to make another hasty decision with much of the season still remaining. Sources in West London already suggest that Fabio Capello was sounded out about the possibility of taking over on a temporary basis but declined to consider such a request.
Benitez is of course ‘out of work’ and remains based in Liverpool, a city he has grown to love. It could just be that he would accept a temporary role to ‘end of season’ and hope that in the meantime he would do more than enough to persuade Abramovich to confirm him as long term boss
The London Evening Standard is another that believes that Benitez is waiting in the wings. :
“Rafael Benitez is on stand-by to take over as Chelsea manager with Andre Villas-Boas struggling to keep his job following a damaging 3-1 defeat against Napoli in the Champions League.
Owner Roman Abramovich is considering whether to end the 34-year-old’s disastrous eight-month reign.
Chelsea need a 2-0 victory in the second leg in three weeks’ time to progress to the last eight but Villas-Boas may be out of a job by then.
They have won just four of their last 14 games and are in serious danger of not playing in the Champions League next season for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign”.
Chelsea fans will no doubt welcome former Liverpool supremo Benitez with open arms? Not if fans website forums are to be believed with comments such as :
“Please not Rafa . Chelsea is being turned into a laughing stock.”
“Benitez eh? Imagine what that will do for season ticket sales? I see an awful downward spiral opening up before me rather than a club tackling a three year transition to a new improved team”
“I will not set foot in Stamford Bridge if Benitez is appointed in any capacity”.
“Every one knows Chelski is desperate but Benetez? Please not.”
Surely there must be support for the former Liverpool boss?
Well yes, but not from Chelsea fans but from Liverpool.
“Oh dear, please don’t lower yourself to manage Chelsea Rafa. You can come back to Anfield in the summer.”
And a plea for a British Manager perhaps?
“God preserve us from Benitez and Mohrhino (sic) and Sven and any other Continental Manager. Why haven’t we got any home grown Managers. A special tax should be introduced to prevent these foreign managers, who’ve already failed their clubs before having a 2nd go failing again”
Goal.com though believes it has the solution as to where blame lies for Chelsea’s problems, and it is hard to disagree on this occasion.
“Abramovich’s questionable football judgement is costing Chelsea dear. At which other leading European club would someone as unqualified as Michael Emenalo have such a senior recruitment role? Why pay a fee of £50m to sign Fernando Torres when there was no evidence of a bidding war?
We could go on and on. From the signing of Juan Veron back in those crazy few weeks in the summer of 2003 when Abramovich kick-started his £800m investment in the club to the recruitment of Andriy Shevchenko and the departure of Jose Mourinho. What the owner gives with his financial might, he takes away with his impulsiveness and restlessness.
Having spent so much recruiting Villas-Boas last June and, especially with Guus Hiddink now unavailable as a possible mid-season Mr Fix-it, the sensible course of action for Abramovich would be to grant his young manager the jurisdiction to revolutionise the team.
As Villas-Boas himself acknowledged minutes after saying that his position was not conditional upon results, questions about his future were being directed to the wrong person”.
Other possibilities for the job are Fabio Cappelo, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Marcelo Bielsa, Bert van Marwijk.