The speculation regarding who the next Chelsea manager has been hotting up. The most common rumour has been regarding Italian manager and former Juventus boss Antonio Conte, who won three Serie A titles in a row at Juventus.
Other managers to be linked with the job include Diego Simeone and more bizarrely Manuel Pellegrini. The issue regarding the new manager is an interesting one. Jose Mourinho was clearly a very high profile coach with a very big personality. This was his main selling point but in the end also his undoing. He was not a diplomat.
Guus Hiddink on the other hand has had great success stabilizing the sinking ship not because he is a wonderful tactician, or astute recruiter of players but because he is a diplomat. He can navigate a difficult board room and owner, as well as a potentially difficult dressing room. Rather than imposing himself on the squad he simply took a back seat and made things more relaxed. This is what John Obi Mikel alluded to recently. The players feel less pressure.
This is what the club need. The players will do most of the work, they just need to be allowed to play without too much of a pantomime. Mourinho became the story too often (even if at times it was intentional and designed to take attention away from the players). This led to a great sense of upheaval at the club, an unhappy dressing room, a fired team doctor and a board who accepted the end of an era.
In the modern game the age of the long serving Alex Ferguson manager appears over. Football is a game about cycles and with so much short term thinking it seems impossible for a manager to come in with a philosophy and implement a bottom up transition of a club. The projects are short term now. The board buy and sell players to fit a broader theme, the manager is now more first team coach, ready to oversee the cycle before it ends and someone else comes in. Because of this any manager at a club like Chelsea just needs to be able to control the board, handle any players he has and keep quiet in the process.
This is why Carlo Ancelotti is so well regarded in the game. He’s hardly a master tactician but he undeniably keeps things ticking over without much fuss. He was in many ways perfect for Chelsea because he could do this in a low key manner. Chelsea need someone to slip into the club without a fuss, get the job done and let the players do their thing. It’s a shame that this is the way football has turned and a lot of it is to do with short term mentalities associated with the increasing corporatization of the game. Profit and success are viewed through a short term lens, the aim to build a dynasty is now nothing short of a distant memory. Whoever comes into Chelsea will do no more than three years at the helm. This is the way football works now unfortunately.