Chelsea are on the lookout for another new manager following the inevitable sacking of Graham Potter.
In keeping with the traditions of previous owner Roman Abramovich, Todd Boehly has been trigger-happy in his first year in charge at Stamford Bridge, with Potter lasting little more than six months and Thomas Tuchel being dismissed rather abruptly.
Unlike the previous regime, however, there seems to be little method to the madness with money being spent on players with next to no strategy seemingly. Whoever comes in next faces the difficult task of forming a top team out of the random collection of players at the club, many of whom were bought without sign-off from managers it appears. And they’ll have to do it quickly.
Let’s look at five of the leading candidates for the Chelsea hot seat.
5 Zinedine Zidane
The longest shot of the bunch, perhaps even more than a third stint at the Bridge for Jose Mourinho, which would no doubt be just brilliant content.
Since leaving Real Madrid for the second time at the end of the 2020/21 season, Zizou has seemed to be in no rush to return to the management game, instead choosing to bide his time for the perfect job.
That seemed set to be the France national team gig but his old teammate Didier Deschamps signed a new contract after leading Les Bleus to a second straight World Cup final.
So why not Chelsea? Zidane hasn’t shown an interest in managing in England to date and might fancy taking the PSG job that is likely to be available this summer. Another basket case of club yes, but one that would ensure a return to his homeland.
Don’t expect Zizou to land in London this summer outside a possible trip to Wimbledon.
4 Roberto De Zerbi
The first of two humorous candidates on this list, but for reasons that would either go over the head of or simply be of no concern to Toddy Boehly.
De Zerbi, of course, replaced Graham Potter at Brighton after Chelsea paid one of many extortionate transfer fees this year to get their now-former gaffer out of the Amex stadium. He has gone on to continue and perhaps better his predecessor’s work with the Seagulls looking like one of the best sides in the country.
The free-flowing and attractive football, as well as the results, is what attracted Boehly and co. to Potter, who was the flavour of the month at the time of his appointment. Could it be a repeat situation this summer? Who would bet against it but De Zerbi would be wise to turn down any approach and wait for a more stable situation to come his way.
3 Mauricio Pochettino
Most of the managers that will be linked to Chelsea in the coming weeks will also be in the thoughts of Spurs as they also look for a new manager for next season.
Pochettino is top of this list as he’s been heavily linked with a return to Spurs for much of the three-and-a-half years since he departed the club. While it’s often better for clubs and managers to not go for a second round, there is no way Spurs fans could tolerate seeing their best manager in modern history in a fierce rivals’ dugout.
Chelsea fans would undoubtedly revel in it, particularly as two of their title-winning gaffers have stunk it up at Spurs in the last few seasons, and the Argentinian would maybe be the best-suited option to get the best out of the numerous young players signed by the Blues this season.
Would Poch do it though? He has maintained a special relationship with the Spurs fanbase since leaving and might not want to burn bridges for an extremely volatile job at the Bridge.
2 Luis Enrique
Enrique has been out of work since quitting as Spain’s national team manager following a disappointing World Cup but will not be short of offers in the coming weeks and months as clubs scramble about for a top manager.
His Spain side did play very nice football but lacked a killer touch, which, to be fair, has been a symptom of the national team’s decline since their 2008-12 glory days.
He has also experienced huge success at club level, having captured a treble in his first season at Barcelona, and a double in his second, playing brilliant attacking football throughout.
He has said he would like to work in the Premier League but only with the right opportunity. Is that Chelsea? It’s certainly up for debate but a fat salary and living in London can sway most people’s opinions.
1 Julian Nagelsmann
The favourite in many eyes and the second of the two humorous options after De Zerbi.
While De Zerbi replaced Potter, Nagelsmann was replaced himself by the first manager sacked by Chelsea this season, Thomas Tuchel.
It would be in fitting with the shambolic nature of Boehly’s reign to hire a manager Bayern Munich deemed surplus to requirements in favour of the manager he had sacked.
His sacking might have seemed harsh given Bayern had won all eight of their Champions League games this season, but there were misgivings surrounding his tactics, communication and general style of management, with the possibility appearing that he could be the German version of Andre Villas-Boas.
AVB was once the hot, young manager in European football and one who was hired by Chelsea. Could lightning strike twice? It would be seriously risky for Nagelsmann given the need for his next job to go well and Chelsea being as stable as a table with a wonky leg.
It will be fascinating to see what happens in the coming weeks and months.