Gone but not forgotten. Gone but not really gone in fact. Guus Hiddink, as he's mentioned several times in recent weeks, will be staying on with Chelsea to work behind the scenes as a consultant, apparently in matters concerning young players.
You might say that's a bit ironic, considering that we didn't always agree with his decisions regarding the youth players, but he did give the trio of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy, and Bertrand Traore a couple significant opportunities to impress, and handed out debuts to Jake Clarke-Salter, Tammy Abraham, and Fikayo Tomori. When the likes of Michael Emenalo (and Jose Mourinho) preach patience and seem to be making a lot of age-based decisions, Hiddink, while not exactly gung-ho, was far more likely to hand out minutes to youngsters based on merit and promise of future returns.
"You often see that the young players are not always easy to link up with the first team. You have to ease them through sparingly, otherwise they can end up burnt out. I already did that with Bertrand Traore and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but it needs to happen more often."
I think we can all agree on that. It needs to happen more often. Can Hiddink push for this from his advisory role? That's debatable, but I suppose we'll see if there's any tangible change to our m.o. in the near future. Hiddink has been involved on some level with Chelsea for many years now, even outside of his interim managerial stints, and it's not like our record of youth integration has been anything to be proud of.
At the other end of the age spectrum, Hiddink has also confirmed that, just as he tried with Drogba in January, Chelsea will be working to bring club legends back in various roles in the future.
"[The likes of Drogba and Cech] have had a great impact here. Once they are really finished with their playing careers, they can be of great value to the club, as an assistant or scout."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Fox Sports via Sky
The exact workings of Chelsea behind the scenes, who's exactly in charge of what, are murky as ever. It's tough to say what adding Hiddink (officially) into that mix will do, but maybe it'll lead to more popular decisions regarding youth players. As long as he's not advising anyone on usage of substitutes...