We've heard this before but now it's coming from the Guardian: Carlo Ancelotti will be leaving Chelsea FC come summer, a year before his contract is due to end. Despite a hugely successful 2009/10 campaign in which Chelsea won the league and FA Cup double, Ancelotti's reign as Chelsea manager appears to be coming to an end.
The word is that Ancelotti will be in charge for our remaining seven games, then be dismissed from his position (probably wandering off to Roma afterwards). Many will blame Chelsea's defeat at the hands of Manchester United in the Champions League for the news - Ancelotti's been hugely unsuccessful relative to his predecessors in that competition, one which owner Roman Abramovich is desperate to win.
However, it's been pretty clear from the past few months that Carlo was heading towards the exits anyway, no matter what he might say. Chelsea's form in November and December was so poor it beggared belief, and the Blues haven't had a particularly convincing outing for months. Quite frankly, the team isn't good enough, and as manager we should probably expect him to be taking the fall. Does he deserve it?
Probably not. There are very few differences between this team and the one which did so well last year, and it's difficult to pin any of Chelsea major problems this year entirely on him. The Fernando Torres fiasco has been bizarre, but it seems as though Ancelotti's been forced to accommodate the Spaniard into the lineup despite not having a team that suits the £50M man, so there's only so much blame you can put on him for not getting the best out of the striker.
I have a few genuine complaints about the way Carlo manages, though. I think some of his tactical decisions have been flat-out wrong - the home defeat against Liverpool a prime example - and have been perplexed by his refusal to play young players clearly ready for the league. You can debate the merits of Josh McEachran and Gael Kakuta all you like, but with Daniel Sturridge's success for Bolton, it's very difficult to claim that he wasn't ready to play in the Premier League.
But there are two sides to every story, and I'd bet that Ancelotti is a better football mind than everyone who's ever stumbled across this site combined. Does that make him infallible? Of course not. But it does make me wonder why he's making the decisions that I disagree with. I'd love to get a chance to talk about how the season's cone with him, because the rationale behind all of his moves are more important than the moves themselves.
Anyway, I like Carlo, I think. In general, I'd rather not see him leave, although I'd happily run him over with a car if I could get Jose Mourinho to come back. If he leaves, he deserves to depart with his head held high.