The former Blues manager has been linked with the vacant Stadium of Light post, but should the Italian entertain the opportunity?
After Paolo Di Canio’s sacking at Sunderland, one of the names most frequently being mentioned as a replacement is former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo – he is many bookmakers’ favourite to replace his countryman at the Stadium of Light.
However, reports from the former midfielder’s homeland have emerged suggesting that Di Matteo is somewhat reluctant to consider a move to the North East club due to the risk associated with the position.
Di Matteo has been away from the game since being sacked by Chelsea last November and is clearly eager to weigh up opportunities rather than jump straight back into management. It is certainly a sensible approach – his fledgling managerial career to date has been impressive, and he will look to build upon his good work at Milton Keynes Dons, West Brom and Stamford Bridge.
Most would agree that Di Matteo’s sacking from Chelsea was somewhat harsh – the 43-year-old is the only Blues manager in the club’s history to lead the west London outfit to become European champions.
As such the Swiss-born coach should really be in high demand. He had to deal with a lack of confidence from owner Roman Abramovich, constant media speculation and doubts over his future, and he still did what the likes of Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and countless others failed to do – deliver the holy grail of the Champions League.
As such, if Sunderland can land Di Matteo it would be quite the coup for the club. He is young, ambitious and has proven that he has all the attributes needed to manage in the Premier League. Unlike the abrupt and fiery Di Canio, Di Matteo was adored amongst the Chelsea players for his calculated approach and excellent man-management skills.
However, with Di Matteo’s managerial reputation excellent currently despite his axing from Chelsea, a move to Sunderland could really see his stock drop if it goes belly up. The challenge of reuniting a divided club with a multitude of new players will be quite the task for whoever Di Canio’s successor is – the new manager needs to bring some pride back to the club.
There is no doubt that Di Matteo has the credentials to salvage Sunderland’s season and could get the best of the squad. However, with so many new and foreign faces at the North East club, a manager from closer to home looks like a more sensible option.
Di Matteo will return to management sooner rather than later, but whether or not the Sunderland job is the right opportunity remains to be seen.
image: © Rach