...We have all heard the reports and stories and indeed the confirmed statements, that Chelsea/Russian team manager, Guus Hiddink will leave Chelsea come the end of the season to return to his national job. This has been backed by Guus himself, the Chelsea boardroom and fans alike. The question then falls, who will takeover?
After Claudio Ranieri, then Jose Mourinho and dare I say it Avram Grant, Chelsea fans must have been fearing that they wouldn't get in a manager capable of delivering success. Hiddink has kept them rolling over, but will there be someone now to pick up the baton? Names that do spring to mind to me anyway include, David Moyes, Martin O'Neill and Jose Mourinho.
Very strong candidate for me. He has been with Everton for quite awhile, but one wonders can he take them much further then he already has. He has the chance to get one over Chelsea in the FA Cup final coming up, but in all honesty, do you think he can crack the top 4 with Everton, go on a strong European run with Everton, hang onto top notch players that come through in Everton? I'm not so sure and I would be amazed if someone of his experience and knowledge didn't have his name on a file in the Chelsea boardroom filed under "Shortlist For Guss' Replacement", or something along those lines. Moyes has always stated his desire to go places with Everton but every season when all's going well, they consistently seem to fall off the leading pack and finish 6th/7th/8th. Then there is the case of money. All managers would be tempted from getting probably double their current wage or even more and if Mr. Roman Abromavich walks along and tells Moyes that he will double his wage packet and surrender massive transfer funds to the Scot, surely Moyes would take it, no?
I would say he wouldn't take it as much as Moyes. O'Neill has really turned Villa around in a relatively short space of time, and does have a nice set up and squad in his possession, and couple that with visible progression and you can't really see him wanting to leave when he could well break the top 4 with his Aston Villa team. Unlike Moyes, he has really come close to it this season and has managed to hang onto his star men in Barry, Young, Agbonlahor, Laursen for now and couple that with astute buys like Emile Heskey who is a handful for any defence and you have yourself a team that on their day could beat anyone in the league. Having said that, O'Neill left Celtic, albeit due to personal issues, so he does know what it is like to leave a project in full flow as such.
The "Special One". Would he make the return to the 'bridge? Everyone knows that he isn't really content in Italy with Inter Milan. The Italian media don't take to his arrogant side and controversial comments the same why the English did. He also has a team he said himself wasn't as good as it could be and saw that side knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United. He has said he would love to manage in the Premier League and this Summer could be the ideal time for him to take up the blue baton again with Hiddink seemingly committed to leaving. The Chelsea faithful sang his name for long spells after he left the club and whilst Avram Grant was manager, but one wonders how they would take to a man who many bookies are tipping to be the next Manchester United manager? When Inter Milan played United at Old Trafford in the Champions League second leg, prior the game, he referred to being at Old Trafford as "being at home" and even stated he was friendly with the grass man and that he was a good guy. Does he want Fergie's job? He left Chelsea because of Abromavich's control over team affairs, or so it was made out, and with Roman still at the top of the tree, would much have changed really?
For me they're are the three main contenders for the job. I've heard other rumors and names that surface included, Gianfranco Zola, Sven-Göran Eriksson and Mark Hughes, all of whom have their qualities but I doubt they will be seated in the home team dugout at Stamford Bridge next season.
One thing for sure is that bookies will have to be careful on this one because the best odds appear to be don't bet on anyone. Personally, if I was asked who I thought would be Chelsea manager next season presuming Hiddink stays faithful to his promise, then I'd stick my head out and say David Moyes.
Written By: Keano!