Few would accuse Christophe Lollichon of keeping his opinions to himself. The outspoken former Chelsea goalkeeper coach — currently working with the Development Squad, the Loan Group, and/or fulfilling an advisory role — has had more than his fair share of public clashes on the touchline (most notably in the run to the Big Ears in 2012), while also falling out with Thibaut Courtois and José Mourinho at one point or another. That he survives at the club after so many power shifts since his arrival in 2007, even after Petr Čech’s departure, probably lends some credence to the idea of being in Abramovich’s trusted circle.
And that’s why it’s perhaps a bit surprising that the club did not heed his advice when looking for Courtois’ replacement this summer. As he reveals in a recent interview, he not only recommended Alphonse Areola to Chelsea, the 25-year-old French international would’ve been more than happy to make the switch from PSG. His transfer fee probably would not have been a world record €80m either.
“We spoke a lot in the summer. He wanted to come here, but the final decision was not my responsibility. It would have been a pleasure to work with him.”
Based on that interview, Lollichon is quite clearly a big fan of Areola, who finally made his international debut for France in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against Germany. (Areola collected a World Cup winner’s medal without ever actually playing for France!) The 25-year-old Paris-born goalkeeper had finally become first-choice at PSG last season, only for them to sign Gigi Buffon this summer and thus prompt the exit rumors. Buffon isn’t getting any younger, so Areola should win that battle in the long-term due to his age advantage alone, but he might not want to go back to sitting and waiting on the bench.
Unfortunately for him and Lollichon, who was briefly rumored to return to his old job before Sarri brought in old friend Massimo Nenci to help out Hilário, the Chelsea door is firmly closed now.