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Dugout Blues: Dan Petrescu gets a new job, will Zola be next?

Times are changing for a number of Chelsea players turned managers. Dan Petrescu has new digs and Gianfranco Zola looks set to follow.

Team CHELSEA/HERTHA - CHELSEA 2:1 Photo by Elisenda Roig/Bongarts/Getty Images


Just as Alan Partridge once did, Dan Petrescu has bounced back. The former Chelsea right back has been given the manager’s job at FC Kuban Krasnodar, who were relegated from the Russian Premier Division last month. Petrescu had been out of work for just two weeks, after being fired by the big spending Jiangsu Suning.

This is Petrescu’s second spell in charge of Kuban, who are based in Russia’s western-most province on the banks of the Black Sea. In his first season with Kazaki (The Cossacks), in 2010, Petrescu won the Russian First Division, getting the team promoted to the Premier Division. After keeping Kuban in the top flight, and setting them up for their first foray into the Europa League, he resigned from the club in 2012. Petrescu stated that he was looking for a new challenge, much to the shock of the club’s players and fans. Petrescu was quickly snapped up by Dynamo Moscow, who he managed for two years before having his contract terminated.

During Petrescu’s earlier tenure at Kuban, a bizarre and terrifying incident took place. In 2011 Montenegrin striker Nikola Nikezic reportedly refused to end his contract by mutual consent and was then later beaten in the club’s offices by what have been described as Russian Mafia members. Nikezic terminated his contract after the alleged incident before reporting what had happened to FIFA. The striker was later compensated by the club.

Petrescu returns to Kuban as a club favourite. Expectations are likely to be high and anything less than an immediate bounce back to the Premier Division could mean curtains for DAN!


Gianfranco Zola is currently on break after leading Al-Arabi to an uninspiring mid-table finish in the Qatari Stars League. Recently, it came as somewhat of a surprise to see that the former Chelsea legend had his odds slashed to take over at Nottingham Forest, as first reported by the Nottingham Post. Should one of the Premier League’s best-ever foreign-imports join the Trees, that would give us four Dugout Blues competing in the Football League Championship. However, the latest news - also from the Post - is that former Manchester United winger and assistant Ryan Giggs is the new favourite for the job.

Zola’s current position at Al-Arabi is under threat, according the club’s new president Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Bin Jaber al-Thani. Iranian outlet PressTV quoted Thani as saying, “Zola is not a popular figure among the fans anymore and we’re looking for a famous new coach.”

In the Championship, new Villa manager - and best-bud/business partner of Gianfranco - Robert Di Matteo is settling down to life back in the midlands. Likely top of RDM’s to-do-list at Villa is to determine the future of Jordan Amavi, whose performances in Villa’s back-line last year were one of few very few bright spots for the club. According to the Birmingham Mail, the 22-year-old Frenchman is attracting interest from Bastia, Lyon, and AC Milan.

Whereas RDM might lose one of his best prospects, Slavisa Jokanovic already has. The Daily Star reported last week that Fulham midfielder Emerson Hyndman had joined Bournemouth. The 20-year-old USA International had rejected a new deal from the Cottagers.

Across town Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has also seen his squad size decrease. Sky Sports has reported that veteran defender Clint Hill is on the verge of signing for Glasgow Rangers. However, the former Chelsea-ace is unlikely to be perturbed by this news since he has gone on record saying the Hoops need fresh blood and a clean break from some of the club’s top earners.

Gus Poyet seems set to raid Chelsea for more talented youngsters amidst reports that Chelsea are seeking to tighten their relationship with Real Betis, a la Vitesse Arnhem. Apparently Chelsea has offered Gus his pick of as many as 10 Chelsea prospects to join Charly Musonda in Seville. A non-Chelsea player linked with a move to Betis is Aston Villa’s Jordan Veretout, according to HITC Sport.

In the lower leagues Kevin Wilson has been adding to his Nuneaton Town squad. According to Nuneaton News Boro have signed a pair of new players, as well as retained the core of last year’s team (that came within points of a playoff berth).

At EURO 2016 Andriy Shevchenko is having a tournament to forget. The Ukrainian assistant has watched his team lose to both Germany and Northern Ireland in Group B, eliminating the Eastern European nation from the competition ahead of their last game versus Poland.

Didier Deschamps and France are faring far better. The hosts cruised into the knockout stages after victories versus Romania and Albania, and a draw with Switzerland.


Hernan Crespo is still job-hunting, in our last edition we reported that the Argentine had met with Swiss side FC Lugano. This week the former striker’s name has been floated as a possibility for Buenos Aires based club San Lorenzo.


Since times may be changing for Gianfranco Zola, let’s enjoy one of the many times he hit the back of the net wearing Chelsea-blue.

*Extra points for noticing the other Alan Partridge references in this piece.

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