As the time for transfers and changes has arrived, Chelsea seems to be undergoing some major reconstruction as well. What will be of greater concern to Chelsea fans is that it could also be the last time that Eden Hazard plays for the club. Zinedine Zidane has made the Belgian his number one transfer target this summer and with just a year left on his contract, it seems as though Hazard’s annual link to Real Madrid could finally come to fruition.
There has also been much speculation about their outgoing manager, Maurizio Sarri, and that it has been an odd debut season for him. Chelsea fans have never really taken to the controversial Italian who has constantly seemed on the brink of the sack, despite finishing third and reaching the finals of both the League Cup and the Europa League.
There are whispers that the match could be his last, with Derby boss Frank Lampard linked with a sensational Stamford Bridge return. However, it turns out that Sarri reportedly told Chelsea he wants to leave the club this summer and return to Italy.
The 60-year-old is heavily linked with the Juventus job, vacated by Allegri at the end of last season. Former Chelsea defender, Frank Leboeuf, said earlier this year that the Blues should look at appointing non-Italian managers following Sarri and previous boss Antonio Conte. They’re looking forward to break the “Italian manager tradition”.
“And I’m not trying to [say] ‘please take a French one’, but maybe they have some coach in England who understands better the culture of English football and maybe others like Germans, like we see with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool”.
According to widespread reports, there are about five possible candidates to replace Sarri.
Jose Mourinho: As Chelsea’s greatest ever manager, it should come as no surprise that Jose Mourinho finds himself linked with the club again. He won trophy after trophy with Chelsea, so his resume speaks for itself.
Erik ten Hag: Before Erik ten Hag joined Ajax, and even during the early stages of his reign at the Johan Cruijff Arena, most outside the Netherlands did not know who he was. Not only did Ten Hag mastermind some incredible results against Juventus and Real Madrid, but he did so in style. Ajax played a stunning brand of football, dominating possession and attacking with the sort of fluidity that causes nightmares for even the best defenders. This is the type of football Chelsea expected from Sarri.
Javi Gracia: Watford boss Javi Gracia certainly is an intriguing option. However, they were thumped 6-0 by Manchester City in the FA Cup final (although Chelsea themselves didn’t even manage better than that), and their form was horribly inconsistent throughout the year. They ended up 11th, which isn’t exactly the most impressive result. There are probably better candidates for the position.
Nuno Espirito Santo: Wolverhampton Wanderers earned a huge amount of praise last season, and plenty of credit has to go to Nuno Espirito Santo. Nuno had his side playing exciting football, whilst also ensuring that they were resolute defensively against even the best opponents. He knows how to win games and more importantly, he knows how to translate that into results on the pitch. The only downside is his lack of experience in charge of an elite Premier League side, but there are more than enough reasons for Chelsea to consider Nuno this summer.
Frank Lampard: If club officials want to hire someone who would make fans happy, they need look no further than Lampard. Fans can still be heard singing his name during games, and that would only continue if he returned to the dugout. Chelsea will have wanted this day to come a few years down the line, once Lampard had more experience under his belt. However, they will likely need to act now, and accelerating their pursuit of Lampard seems like the best way forward.