Abramovich’s Next Move


The Russian oligarch received a rather large dent to his ego this week in the shape of Pep Guardiola deciding to take up the post at Bayern Munich next season.

Abramovich is a man that is used to getting his own way so often, usually his cheque book gets him what he so desires. Unfortunately this time his latest subject’s motive lies away from money and is more interested in the bigger picture, at Bayern Munich Pep has a chance to make his own mark at a club that is rich in history, youth and competing. Abramovich is very impatient in the sense that he wants to see immediate success hence the 8 managers that have passed through his 10 year tenure, if a manager is not winning then they are replaced, its a simple as that. In the wake of Ray Wilkins’ comments is it conceivable that Abramovich’s manager stock pile has dried up after all he did have to settle for unpopular selection Benitez this time around?

Chelsea have already worked their way through a list of the highest profile managers in the world, Moutinho, Ancelotti and Hiddink are all in the top 10 highest paid managers at this current time. The money that Abramovich has will always attract the top managers, for a lot of managers it makes no difference if they are there for a year and they are contracted for three, it just means they get a massive payout. Their reputation remains intact as most people just end up sympathising that they were not given enough time.

To a lot of people this job can be seen as a win situation. Pep has broken the mould however and demonstrated that not all managers are just after money, Balague author of a recent Pep book expressed the reason for the Catalan manager taking the Bayern job, “Pep Guardiola is a romantic” – it’s this notion that Bayern is a club rich in history and have always been a force in European football. Teams such as Chelsea and Manchester City have only found success through new investment. This sentiment is refreshing but can the same be said for other managers, can they resist the temptation of cold hard cash?

Any manager that takes the Chelsea job naturally thinks that they can succeed after all these are top managers; they have to have confidence in their ability. Abramovich is like a bad boy and each of the managers think that they will be the one to change him. To become accepted and prove that they are the best and there are no reasons why they shouldn’t, the squad they have at their disposal is always of a high calibre.

The reasons that Pep turned down the opportunity to manage Chelsea will be the same reasons future targets will. Time is something that a new Chelsea manager doesn’t have on their side, if the wins are not coming, their contract can be expected to be cut short, its that ruthless. This doesn’t really sound appealing as it takes time to build a team, for that team to gel and for the manager to know how to get the best out of his players, these things don’t happen over night or even over a season for that matter.

But there are also other problems that lie in taking the poison chalice of a job, no manager has full control over which players they get to sign, they cant build a team around their strengths they are given a team and expected to get the best out of these sets of individuals, its restricting for these professionals that have been in the game longer than their chairman has been watching Premiership football. Managers at Chelsea don’t have authority in matters of the club. Abramovich has his latest policy that +30 year olds don’t have a place at the club anymore, but no manger has a say in whether they would be part of future plans. Its a situation where a manager has little to no control over matters of the club and if they don’t like this again they can be shown the door.

So on to the candidates and the man who will be prime candidate to take the full time roll next term, a man who is only too familiar with the way the obtuse Chelsea chairman works, the Special One, Jose Mourinho. Mourinho is growing restless in Spain; he is having his least successful league run in Spain to date and has hinted at returning to the Premiership. But it is conceivable to think that Mourinho and Guardiola have one eye on the United job, a job for the romantic.

Mourinho and Abramovich have had their fallings out back when Mourinho held the reigns the only problem is Abramovich seems to have got even more irrational and controlling. Whether the two could work together again remains to be seen, but if Mourinho was to take the jobs, surely he would be able to negotiate some terms into his contract to give him a little more power and less interference, if any man is able to achieve this, Mourinho would be that man. Such is Jose’s character; it wouldn’t be surprising to see him follow Pep to the Bundasliga if only to lock horns with his old foe once again.

Jurgen Klopp and Jaochim Low are managers that Abramovich will be keeping a close eye on. Germany are a country blessed with good young players as Wenger has described the country as “the football of tomorrow.”. It is well publicized that German footballers do not often leave their home country, perhaps with the acquisition of one of these managers Abramovich could tap into the German market. Still it looks unlikely that Klopp would move to England as he has harboured ideas of managing the German national team when Low’s contract is up next year.

Other candidates that have been mentioned include Diego Simeone a flavour of the month for Abramovich (reminiscent of the AVB acquisition). Simeone has won the Europa Cup and has been touted as one of the best young managers around. Lippi is another manager linked with the potential vacancy at Stamford Bridge in the summer, currently in semi retirement mode managing in China he could be tempted by one big payday before taking the full step backwards from football. Zola is another name branded in the media in recent days, his CV isn’t quite up to scratch yet and whether Abramovich could treat the Chelsea number one legend the same way he treated RDM would be interesting to see.

David Moyes is a name that crops up whenever there is a manager vacancy at any top premiership club. The way in which he has operated at Everton on a strict shoestring budget is quite impressive. Not only is he well respected by fans of all clubs, he is also liked by rival managers. Mourinho has spoken of his admiration for Moyes as has Sir Alex. It is wildly touted that Moyes is the heir to Fergie’s throne, whether it be because they share the same nation of birth or because of they are straight talking honest approach. Whether Moyes would take the Chelsea job if offered it remains to be seen, some would argue that he is a man of integrity and wouldn’t, however the truth remains, he is an ambitious manager without a trophy to his name and Chelsea are a club who compete every year for silverware.

One thing is for certain more than one of these managers mentioned will be contacted by Abramovich in the months to come. Chelsea fans will hope its Mourinho that returns but perhaps their relationship is irreparable. But either way expect the next manager’s salary to be one of the largest in the game and for good reason.

Adam Deacon