Could Chelsea’s managerial options suddenly have been narrowed down to just one man? With the news that puffs of white smoke were seen after Maurizio Sarri met with his combustible club president Aurelio de Laurentiis in Napoli, and hashed out the substance of a new contract, the trendy to pick to lather Cobham’s walls with nicotine tar is seemingly off of the market.
And that means, according the The Telegraph’s Matt Law, the man with the golden contacts inside Chelsea’s board (or the man who’s spoon fed what the club want him to know), that the last candidate standing “could” very well be Luis Enrique. The former Barcelona manager had been the hot bet a couple of months ago, but reportedly fell out of favor because of outrageous wage demands and concerns about an inflexible approach to... well, everything, apparently.
Wait, you might exclaim, what happened to all that talk about Chelsea changing their ways, about casting the net further, about consider promising managers who haven’t yet reached the big time? About A and B lists? About not always going for the tried-and-true(-and-expensive)? Like Huddersfield’s David Wagner for example, who proved himself capable of tripping up the Blues at Stamford Bridge? His named was floated less than a month ago. Or how about Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann? He was a candidate, in the ether anyway, last month. Where have their names gone? Or what about Ralph Hasenhüttl, who stepped down at RB Leipzig yesterday after failing to agree a long-term contract?
Nobody knows. That is to say, nobody who’s willing to talk about it knows. Maybe Roman and the board lost their nerve. There’s a lot of money involved here, both for high finishes in the Premier League and playing in the Champions League. For example, finishing fifth instead of fourth cost Chelsea about £8 million in Premier League payments alone. That, of course, is roughly the cost of buying out Antonio Conte, a cost that the club is so fretful about.
The way Law describes it, our next manager is going to come from one of Sarri or Luis Enrique. And Sarri just left town. Lucho it is?