Chaos reigns at Chelsea as another unseemly search begins

Dan Levene dissects yet another crisis at Chelsea, as potential replacements for Jose Mourinho swirl around in the press.
For a club that had been seriously considering sacking its manager for almost two months, Chelsea seemed remarkably unready for the outcome when it happened.
Jose Mourinho’s dismissal last week was neither unplanned nor unexpected, and had been on the cards since a home defeat to Liverpool back on Halloween.
Yet still it brought, in its aftermath, the sort of unseemly scramble for personnel that adds weight to those that might claim this is a club working without strategy or plan, simply fighting one crisis after another.
The fact that Michael Emenalo had to line-up close confidante Juande Ramos as an alternative, should things not all fall into place with Roman Abramovich acolyte Guus Hiddink, revealed the chaos within as Mourinho packed his personal belongings into a Reuters
And the fact that negotiations took the parties up until not so long before kick-off in the Sunderland match, with team sheets printed with the name of a manager markedly missed off, revealed at the very least a low level of priority attached to the business of who actually manages the club.
Didier Drogba was flown in to provide both moral support and a battle shieldto deflect criticism from Roman Abramovich, who took the ultimate decision.
He remains under contract with Montreal Impact in the MLS, meaning a cub spokesman was forced to talk of a simple visit to see his “Chelsea family”, lest the club be accused of tapping-up someone else’s man.
That contract will presumably be bought out in the coming days, as Chelsea desperately try to find some of the lost character that has flooded out of their dressing room this season.
For Mourinho’s part, he knew exactly what was coming. And the timing cannot have been much of a surprise either, after he pointedly loaded a bullet into the chamber at the King Power Stadium last Monday when he spoke of “betrayal” after losing, in his last game, to Leicester City.
After being escorted off the premises, he did all he could to get the word out that he was ready for his next challenge.
His management put out a statement scuppering talk of a sabbatical; and he personally called the switchboard at Brighton and Hove Albion to arrange a ticket for Saturday’s visit of Middlesbrough and secure his picture in the Sunday papers.
Old Trafford is in his sights, and may actually be a reality given Louis van Gaal’s precarious state there – though surely not in time for the Blues’ visit next Monday.
Chelsea again enter the unseemly search for another ‘permanent’ boss (who, precedent dictates, will be fired two years into a four-season deal).
Pep Guardiola, on the market following his decision to leave Bayern, is little but a pipe dream. He was Abramovich’s preferred option when appointing each of the last three permanent Blues bosses, and each time he has made it clear Chelsea are pretty much the polar opposite of what he wants from a club.
Manuel Pellegrini, whose job the Spaniard will surely take at the season’s end,is said to be a preference of Emenalo’s – though after a week where Chelsea’s technical director caused embarrassment with his management textbook speak of “palpable discord” and in referring to Mourinho as “the individual”, one wonders how much clout he still carries.
The most likely option remains Diego Simeone, who has been seen as the next manager in waiting for some time.
But, by failing to either take decisive early action, or to back Mourinho, Chelsea now find themselves in a far worse state than they might have hoped to be on making that approach to the Atletico boss.
The Argentinian might easily be persuaded to take on the additional cash and status that being Chelsea manager affords. But will he fancy going to a club without Champions League football – more likely than not for Chelsea come the season’s end?
Thus, chaos reigns at Stamford Bridge, and another season is written off as ‘transition’. Another crisis made in Chelsea, a place where the circus never really leaves town.

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