It’s hard to find anyone that believes Rafa Benitez can hang on to his job as Chelsea manager beyond this season, with quite a few others waiting in line to replace him. The question is who does Roman Abramovich want, with the top names on the list looking to be Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
As long as he’s still interested in coaching clubs, Mourinho will forever be linked with Chelsea. Despite the way everything ended with Roman Abramovich in 2007, Mourinho feels a special bond with the club. He got his first exposure as the Porto manager who won the Champions League, but winning in England is different; Mourinho became a superstar at Stamford Bridge.
And his own huge ego as at a crossroads – Do I take the offer that should be waiting for me when I leave Real Madrid for a man who has already sacked me once? On the other side of the argument, it’s Mourinho’s chance to show the world he is the one who can tame Roman, come back to the team and be successful again, as long as he gets and open spending account on players once again. Things have changed since Mourinho last worked as Chelsea manager.
Then there’s Antonio Conte, which would be a mistake for both sides. Conte is right at home with Juventus, who are a bigger club than Chelsea. He probably can make more money working for Abramovich, but that doesn’t last very long for anyone, and it doesn’t help you get an amazing new job afterwards. The chance for glory and success with Juventus, both in the local arena and on the European grounds is better. If he wins something with Chelsea, he’ll just be a man who made the right moves with some rich man’s toy. With Juventus, it’s a chance to bring back one of Europe’s greatest clubs to the upper echelon of the continent’s members.
Despite the way Abramovich treats the men who work for him, making his decisions despite not knowing much about football and surrounding himself with advisers who aren’t exactly the cream of the crop, most managers will flock to Stamford Bridge. The chance to work for a club that’s one of the most successful in England over the last 8-9 years, not to mention the salary and the potential spending (although the manager isn’t always the one to decide on new players) is too much to refuse for many.
But Abramovich just likes trendy names before he tosses them aside. Anything that isn’t great, continuous success is chucked aside and thrown out the window. Andre Villas-Boas was the perfect example. Roberto Di Matteo lasted less than a season, with the fireworks from winning the Champions League fading fast. Antonio Conte will be just another one in that line of hot names; Jurgen Klopp as well. For their own good, despite the desire to earn more money in the shiny (but not as good as it once was) English Premier League, staying at Juventus would be the smarter move by Conte.