Despite a supposedly long-held desire to go our separate ways from Antonio Conte, Chelsea have made hilariously little progress in securing his replacement. In fact, Conte himself hasn’t even been sacked yet! It’s been almost a month since Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final to finish out season and the “dead man walking” remains very much alive.
In the meantime, PSG have appointed Thomas Tuchel, Arsenal have appointed Unai Emery, Italy have appointed Roberto Mancini, Napoli have appointed Carlo Ancelotti, and Real Madrid have appointed Julen Lopetegui. If Chelsea continue to hold out hope that someone will allow us to sack Conte on the cheap by giving him a new job straight away, we’re truly hoping for a miracle. Who’s left? Macclesfield Town?
On the flipside, Chelsea’s search for a potential replacement seems to be going just as poorly. Laurent Blanc is supposedly an option, but just a fallback. Maurizio Sarri is supposedly the prime target, but we continue to indulge Di Laurentiis’ silly games, and so multiple rounds of negotiations with Sarri have only landed us in a place where more patience is required. Fulham’s Slavisa Jokanovic was an option for a minute, as have the likes of Leonardo Jardim, Luis Enrique, David Wagner. But instead of closing on a target, we are apparently expanding the search.
According to Duncan Castles, Chelsea have added two more names to the list, Jorge Sampaoli and Tite. Both will be busy for the foreseeable future at the World Cup, with Argentina and Brazil, respectively, but apparently they’d both be “alternative low-cost” options.
Sampaoli was linked two years ago as well, before Chelsea agreed with Conte, and has since done well with Sevilla and Argentina with a season each. In addition to winning the 2015 Copa America with Chile, he’s won domestic titles with Universidad de Chile earlier this decade. The 58-year-old is not one to shy away from attacking football, even if his Argentina side struggled to score in qualifying.
Tite is a new name, but a familiar one if you’ve been following Brazil’s exploits over the past couple years. Since taking over from the uninspiring Dunga, Tite has won 17 of 21 Selecao matches, losing just once, and has made Willian a cornerstone of his Brazil teams, which could bode well his possibly wantaway status. Tite has had a fair amount of success at club level over the past ten years, including beating Chelsea in the 2012 FIFA World Club Cup final with Corinthians, and is one of the favorites to lift the World Cup trophy this summer.
Chelsea have hired national team managers twice before in the Roman Era: Conte worked out well, Scolari less so. Conte had been announced well in advance of his summer tournament; Scolari was announced a week into it. There’s time for that latter timeline with either, but considering that this is the first we hear of any such possible intent, we’re going ot have to do some intense negotiations at the risk of distracting them from their current jobs — not an easy situation for anyone involved.