A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
There have been rumours the managerial merry go round is ready to spark into life again at Chelsea, with the club having to deny they have contacted Avram Grant about a return to aid Rafa Benitez. Several papers had reported the story saying that Roman Abramovich was already doubting his decision to install Benitez as a replacement for the popular Roberto Di Matteo.
Benitez was already an unpopular figure at Stamford Bridge after run-ins with Chelsea during his time at Liverpool, and has faced animosity from the club’s fans in his first three matches, from which Chelsea have only taken two points. Benitez will likely face more abuse at Chelsea’s home match against Nordsjaelland on Wednesday, but when pressed about whether the fans could drive him to quit he insisted he will never walk away from the job saying:
“No. When I decided to come, I knew it was a challenge.”
If Chelsea do continue with their plan to have Benitez until the summer, one man who may be available then is Jose Mourinho, with further speculation today he will part ways with Real Madrid at the end of the season. Real Madrid are unlikely to retain the Spanish league this season, as they are already eleven points behind Barcelona, and the Spanish press has said Mourinho has agreed with the club President Florentine Perez that he will leave in the summer.
Chelsea fans are not the only ones longing for a return to the side they had under Mourinho, as Benitez himself has criticised his player’s lack of character when under pressure against West Ham by comparing them unfavourably to Mourinho’s side:
“That is when you have to show character and quality — and we did not do that. Character and leadership is always necessary in a team. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea team had a lot of character but it is a different time now.'”
Benitez also said he is still hopeful that Chelsea can progress in the Champions League. The Blues need to win, and hope that Shakhtar beat Juventus if they are to get through the group stage.
In transfer news, Andre Schurrle’s father has said his son is not going to leave Bayer Leverkusen in January. The striker is reportedly a target for Chelsea, and may be more open to a move come the summer when a £28.5 million buy out clause will be available in his contract.