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Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola denies he’s coming to replace Antonio Conte

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This is about clickbait. DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK! DON’T DO IT!

Chelsea v Real Zaragoza Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

Sigh. You clicked the link. Now we have to write the story.

This is how it works. It’s Thursday — the worst day, as it’s known around WAGNH Towers — and a slow news day. The Champions League is over for a couple of weeks. The weekend’s football action doesn’t really pick-up until tomorrow. And those newspapers aren’t going to just sell themselves. Hmmm, what can we come up with?

I know, say smart editors in Italy and England. Let’s flog the Antonio Conte rumor one more time. The horse is already dead, it won’t feel another beating. What angle can we take this time? I know, let’s ask a random person with a Chelsea connection if he wants the job. How about Gianfranco Zola?

Bingo, a story is born. This one starts in Italy, with La Gazetta dello Sport. From there it pings to Il Napolista. And that’s where our fine friends at Metro (and ESPN) spot it and play it up.

Here, ladies and gentlemen is the sum and substance of the whole story.

Question: You’re in the cycle of rumors with Sarri about a post-Conte Chelsea.

Answer:

“One week there is and one week there isn’t something linking me with Chelsea.

“But I know nothing about this hypothesis. Besides, after Birmingham I’ve taken a year out.”

-Gianfranco Zola; source: La Gazetta dello Sport via il Napolista and Metro

And that’s it. But that’s all it takes.

For the record, Zola is a Chelsea legend and it’s painful to contemplate him as our manager. Nobody wants to say unpleasant things about Chelsea’s Most Talented Player Ever.

Unfortunately for Zola, his management career has not yet risen to the heights of his playing career. In three stints in England he has not done well. His first job was at West Ham, where he had a 28.75 winning percentage (23 wins, 21 draws, 36 losses) in two seasons. His next job was at Watford, his best effort. He had a 44% winning percentage (33-15-27) in a season and a half. His final spell in the dugout came at Birmingham and it was both his worst and his shortest term, just 24 games and a sobering 8% (2-8-14).

So can we just leave the man in peace?