Guus Hiddink is unemployed. He likes Chelsea, a lot.
So, is a return to London in some capacity other than manager represent good business for the club and Roman Abramovich? Yes and no.
Hiddink resigned his managerial post this week following a turbulent near two-year spell in charge of the Turkish national team. Among his initial thoughts following Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Croatia - which confirmed Turkey's exit at the Euro playoff stage on 3-0 aggregate - were on Chelsea and a potential return to the club.
It was great at Chelsea, a terrific time, but that doesn’t mean I am ready to start tomorrow. I need some time to reflect. Even at my age I need to decide what my future may be.
I’m not ready to retire, I like to be involved with a team on a daily basis, but maybe I am ready to step out of the limelight a little bit, away from the cameras. Hopefully I will still be involved but perhaps it will be as an advisor or a consultant.
Not exactly a firm no. In fact, quite the opposite. The position that would seem to suit Guus' current ambition would be Director of Football. It's a job Guus was linked with in the summer, when most of the Chelsea managerial ramblings focused on Marco van Basten.
Sounds great initially. The question Roman and company must answer, however, is whether offering Hiddink such a powerful position is a move that will take the club forward rather than undermine it.
Let's take a look at both sides of the coin.
The case for Guus
- He is, foremost, familiar with the club. He understands what is at stake and what's expected.
- He has not only a working relationship with our owner, but has also kindled a friendship with Roman Abramovich. The two have the respect of the other, which is massive.
- The players are familiar with him. The players respect him. His half-season in charge drew rave reviews from our personnel at the time, many of which remain at the club.
- He's brilliant in terms of man-management. Sure he would not be in charge, but his ability to advise our players, particularly new faces, could prove vital.
- It's Guus. We as supporters love him. The players - those who were around in 2009 - love him. A return as DoF or consultant would be highly beneficial, provided his appointment did not undermine the reshaping currently going on at the club under Andre Villas-Boas.
The case against Guus
- Hiddink is an incredibly strong personality. Could he manage a role in which much of his work, and success, would be in the shadow of both Abramovich and Villas-Boas (both strong personalities themselves)?
- Director of Football, a title viewed with much disdain at this club. Wasn't the position created specifically for Avram Grant in July 2007? We all remember how that played out.
- Do we even need a Director of Football? Do we even need an advisor to the club? We seem to be full-up on backroom staff as is, plus we have veteran leadership in the form of players such as Frank Lampard and John Terry - coaches on and off the field if you will.
- Appointing Hiddink could serve to derail the current path of the club under Villas-Boas. I can see it now: A poor run is accompanied by incessant media drivel about AVB's future - with Hiddink seemingly waiting in the wings to regain his former post. Deconstructive and unhealthy.
- We are not the same team we were at the end of 2009. The change has not only come in personnel but also in personality and philosophy. What can Hiddink offer us now?
- Has the Dutchman flamed out? He has not enjoyed much success since leaving Chelsea in May 2009. His return to Russia was incredibly disappointing; as stated earlier, his tenure as Turkey coach was lined with mediocrity. What then does Hiddink have left in the tank, even as a high-paid consultant?
I'm sure I've missed one or two key points - for each side - but I think I've generally summed it up. Browsing the two lists, it becomes more and more apparent, at least for me, that appointing Hiddink as Director of Football would be the wrong move for the club right now.
I, like many of you, love Hiddink. To be honest, I expected him to become our manager in the summer. That didn't happen, however, which led to the proactive appointment of Villas-Boas. With AVB has come drastic change, a new look and new philosophy. Bringing Hiddink aboard now would potentially disrupt - maybe even destroy - what is currently taking place at the club.
Though we are not where we'd like to be, and there have been, and will be more, roadblocks to endure, there are massive ripples of change flowing through Chelsea right now and the end-product could be something incredibly exciting. I, for one, am ready to wade through these choppy waters in order to see where we eventually arrive. Allow AVB the time necessary to recreate his vision. I'd prefer the Portugese be able to do so without having to look constantly over his shoulder at a seasoned 65-year-old Dutchman in the process.
An unofficial advisory role for Guus? Cool. Consulting Roman from time to time on all aspects of the club? Cool. Anything more, though, and I'm leery.
What are your thoughts?