Chelsea moved fairly swiftly in the last couple weeks to sack Frank Lampard just halfway through his three-year contract (and project) and replace him with someone who had been employed by a different team just a month prior. Long-term plan this wasn’t.
That said, Thomas Tuchel isn’t just an interim appointment. He is not explicitly short-term filler a la Guus Hiddink, Rafael Benítez, Avram Grant, or even Roberto Di Matteo — we’ve had a few! At the same time, his contract is only for 18 months. Long-term plan this isn’t.
Tuchel, in his straightforward manner, already addressed this situation head-on when quizzed about it earlier, telling it as it is given the short life expectancy of any top flight managerial appointment, especially at Chelsea.
“At first it was a concern, I was a little like ‘oh, why 18 months?’ And after one minute I thought ‘what does it change?’ What does it change? If they give me four-and-a-half years, they [could] sack me anyway. If they are not happy with me, they will sack me anyway. And if they gave me four-and-a-half years they would put in a clause that when they sack me, they’ll pay me.
“So where can I be sure that I’ll be there for four-and-a-half years? You cannot. That is the truth at this level. [So] I decided not to worry too much, be brave enough to take on this adventure, because it was absolutely clear that I want to do it and I don’t want to miss the chance. It’s also my character to believe more in the chances than the risks. There is absolutely, for me personally, nothing to be afraid of. I’m very grateful to do this job at this level and I don’t want to waste my time thinking about risks.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Goal
Tuchel’s contract does have an option for an additional year built into it, one that is unsurprisingly tied to performance targets, as reported by the Daily Mail. They claim that one specific achievement marker is keeping Chelsea in the Champions League (top-four finish, or winning the competition itself), and if Tuchel manages to do that both this season and next, the extension would trigger.
That sounds reasonable enough, but Tuchel will have his work cut out for him, certainly this season, with Chelsea down in midtable and looking up at a fair few teams above us. In fact, we have still yet to beat a team above us in the table. Spurs on Thursday would be a good time to start doing so.