Most football fans approach the summer pondering potential new signings. But for Chelsea fans, this summer will see the appointment of the manager they hope can turn them into a title-winning force once more.
There are some who have stopped taking the proverbial bets on former manager Jose Mourinho returning to Stamford Bridge. But others believe the Portuguese coach is unlikely to return having been so harshly dismissed by Roman Abramovich in 2007.
You sense Mourinho’s memory stretches further than the average man.
And as he continues his riddle-fuelled dalliance with the media, the London club are rumoured to be looking elsewhere, most notably in the direction of Malaga and their Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Recent reports suggest one of Pellegrini’s advisors has met with Stamford Bridge officials to discuss the possibility of succeeding interim manager Rafael Benitez; and should the rumours be true, Chelsea would find themselves with an experienced disciplinarian who has coached three of the biggest sides in Spain.
He also took his current club to within a few unbelievable minutes of this season’s Champions League semi-finals.
Only two late goals from Borussia Dortmund prevented Pellegrini from a reunion with previous employers Real Madrid.
But while we may have missed out on a tie between the two most likely candidates for the Chelsea job, Pellegrini may have edged ahead of Mourinho in the race.
Spanish newspaper Marca has published quotes from Pellegrini’s agent that suggest Chelsea may be able to sway the Chilean should their interest be genuine.
While it is no secret that Malaga are suffering severe financial issues, the Chilean’s agent Jesus Martinez has revealed the depth of frustration at the club.
In perhaps his most telling statement, Martinez said, “They aren’t being fair or straight with the fans.”
Before adding, “They shouldn’t make promises and then fail to keep them.”
What those promises were and to whom they were made is unknown, but if Marca is right in declaring that Pellegrini may be ready to “jump ship,” Chelsea will be paying very close attention.
And for everyone desperate for the return of the Special One, they could find that ultimately a fresh start is better than a second chance.
Who should be Chelsea manager next season: Pellegrini, Mourinho or someone else entirely?
images: © Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile