Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea future is far from assured, especially if Chelsea fail to qualify for next year’s Champions League by either finishing fourth or winning the Europa League. If Sarri somehow manages to get Chelsea performing better against top clubs and achieve success in one or both fronts, there is a decent chance he stays beyond his first season. But if he falters, or Roman Abramovich decides he is no longer wanted, Chelsea will have to look for another new manager.
As ever in these situations, the question of who would want to deal with the constant drama at Stamford Bridge comes up, but the prestige and the salary of the job surely remains attractive to most. As far as specific candidates go, Chelsea apparently have three shortlisted. Two we’ve known already, Wolves’ Nuno Espírito Santo and Derby County’s Frank Lampard. Now here comes a third, Watford’s Javi Gracia.
Gracia arrived at Watford in January 2018, taking over the managerial seat from current Everton coach, Marco Silva. The initial 18-month contract signed on his arrival was extended in November to a four-and-a-half year contract, partly as protecting against anticipated interest such as Chelsea’s.
Watford are enjoying decent success this season and are firmly among the best of the rest, outside of the Premier League’s top six, alongside Everton, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Although Watford are currently 10th, there’s only a single point separating those four teams.
Gracia has gotten plenty of praise for his ‘quiet revolution’ at Vicarage Road, which has seen him work successfully with limited resources, improving on last year’s points total and even reaching the FA Cup final.
For now, this is just speculation. But should Sarri get his walking papers, the likes of Gracia will be at the forefront of the new Chelsea manager conversation.