Juventus are expected to conclude and announce the Maurizio Sarri deal in the next few days, maybe even the next few hours, which leaves us with just one big question. There are many other smaller questions about this whole situation, too, but the one big one is, what’s next for Chelsea?
Another summer of managerial speculation is of course nothing new in the SW6, but this one is a bit different than all the others. This time it’s not Chelsea who are pulling the plug; it appears to be truly a more mutually agreeable separation. We’re used to Chelsea sacking managers; we’re not used to managers wanting to leave, for whatever reason.
To complicate matters, Chelsea remain under a transfer ban, our biggest star is leaving, too, and two of our brightest young players are dealing with long-term, potentially career-altering injuries. The Chelsea job is no walk in the park in most years. This next year, the difficulty is getting turned up to 11.
Former Juventus boss Max Allegri would appear to be the biggest available name on the market, but even the rumor mill isn’t willing to go that far. Chelsea legend Frank Lampard is the bookies’ favorite, but the job may have come a bit “too soon” for him as he looks to stay at Derby for at least another season. Laurent Blanc has been linked, just as he has been every time since the start of his unemployment in 2016. Patrick Vieira is a recent addition, to help fill tabloid quotas. Nuno Espirito Santo might be a reasonable choice, but there seems to be little apparent reason for him to leave Wolves. José Mourinho didn’t think the suggestion was worth even his time, let alone his attention.
One name who hasn’t been mentioned, but was rumored quite seriously earlier this year, when Sarri’s departure looked set to be a more garden variety sacking, is former Chelsea assistant Steve Holland, who’s still Gareth Southgate’s assistant at the England national team, where he’s earned plenty of credit for the Three Lions’ recent successes.
During his time at Chelsea, Holland worked with some our greatest managers of all-time, including Mourinho, Ancelotti, and Conte as well. In fact, as much as the revolving door for the head coach’s office never stops spinning, Holland was a true constant for the club, serving as assistant manager from 2011 to 2017, helping guide the team to six trophies in those five seasons. Prior to that, he also coached in the youth and the reserves, winning the old Reserves League in 2010-11. We’d be hard-pressed to find any other coach who would be so well-steeped in “The Chelsea Way” (assuming there is such a thing as “The Chelsea Way”).
So far, reports claim only that Chelsea would “consider” the 49-year-old who has never officially been appointed a head coach — though he’s served as such in an interim role both at Crewe Alexandra, for a few months, and at Chelsea, for a few games. Just as earlier this year, we should expect this rumor to gain a fair bit of traction.