Klinsmann a good shout as the next Chelsea manager
No one likes Rafa Benítez. He doesn’t appear to care. Cheques underwritten by the bewildering wealth of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich don’t tend to bounce. The perks of purgatory, in the more fashionable parts of west London, are pretty decent.
In normal circumstances, Chelsea’s schizophrenic form would appear to justify the theory that Benítez is in the process of committing career suicide. But, of course, nothing is as it seems at Stamford Bridge. The European champions are as close to being ungovernable as it is possible to be.
Benítez is, understandably enough, in the firing line. But his advocates, an endangered but admirably vocal species, argue that he cannot reasonably be blamed for experienced players making basic errors. They also ask, reasonably enough, who would want to be Chelsea’s next interim manager? The list of candidates for Plan Z is not that long.
Pep Guardiola has removed himself from the reckoning. Jürgen Klopp, probably the most accomplished of the current generation of Bundesliga managers, is also being courted by Real Madrid, and in any case has no incentive to leave Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea will have to look further afield.
The fans’ best hope is that José Mourinho can be persuaded to let bygones be bygones with Abramovich, who will have to ignore Real’s current plight – they lie 16 points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona. Defeat by Manchester United in the Champions League is almost certain to trigger regime change at the Bernabéu.
Chelsea could do worse than apply lateral thinking to their succession planning. I’d love to see Abramovich take a scouting trip to Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where the hosts play the United States on Wednesday.
The US have been coached by Jürgen Klinsmann for the past 18 months. He has deep knowledge of the Premier League and an abiding affection for the rhythms and rituals of the English game. He has also distinguished himself by changing the culture of what was a complacent, self-satisfied team.
He has exiled Landon Donovan, and warned Tottenham’s Clint Dempsey he must begin to live up to his reputation. He has lived in the US for 15 years, but has recent experience of the German national team. He can handle the biggest players.
Of course, his candidature will not go down well with a certain section of the Chelsea fan base, who would undoubtedly view the prospect of a manager so closely aligned to Tottenham with suspicion or contempt.
But let’s face it: beggars can’t be choosers, even if they are bankrolled by a billionaire.
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