Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has stated his intention to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
Whilst there are hopes that Jose Mourinho could return to take the reigns in West London, perhaps Chelsea would consider giving Roberto Di Matteo anther crack at the whip?
The Italian took over from Andre Villas-Boas for a 9-month stint as caretaker manager and took the Blues to the heights of winning the Champions League and FA Cup.
The fans’ favourite is still very much in the hearts and minds of the fans who continue to cheer in the 16th minute of every game in honour of his former squad number as a player.
Rafael Benitez has to be considered the least popular appointment in Roman Abramovich’s 10-year tenure as owner of the club in which time there have been 10 managers.
Jose Mourinho is another fans’ favourite and speculation regarding his future remains on-going at Real Madrid. The Portuguese boss was the Blues’ most successful to date, winning 6 trophies in his 3 years.
But is there ‘special one’ really what the Blues need? Di Matteo was sacked after a short but poor run of form and, in many ways, he could be forgiven for feeling the club’s owner had betrayed him, especially after his success.
He also brought in the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin and Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer prior to his departure. He surely has to be considered the architect of the current team and, prior to being sacked, it was clear he was trying to implement a new system, style and approach in the team.
There was a feeling that Chelsea were progressive and in a period of transition but, as has so often been the case under Abramovich’s reign, he wasn’t given the time to see his plans through. There is an unparalleled impatience in the hierarchy at Stamford Bridge, something of a fast-food football culture.
It would be highly unlikely that Di Matteo would be asked back – Abramovich doesn’t seem to be the kind of character that accepts the suggestions of the fans, especially if there is any hint that he has made a mistake.
Equally, I would have serious reservations that the Italian could be convinced to return after being treated so unfairly. Like a scorned ex-lover, he will have been hurt by the club’s betrayal of him, not to mention the attempted erasing of him from their past. As the saying goes, once bitten; twice shy.
He would likely need assurances that his job was secure which, at Chelsea, is something of impossibility.
However, his love for the club and the fans could be the determining factor. It’s a love that is requited, after all. I suspect if he was asked back he would find it hard to turn the offer down for that reason alone.
image: © aromano