We’ve woken up this morning to reports (if they’re to be believed) that Chelsea representitives have held talks with Pellegrinis’ agent in the view of sounding him out to become the next manager at Stamford Bridge. This would represent another bold move by Chelsea and owner Roman Abramovich as he seeks to put the club back on the right track after a somewhat wayward season with the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo back in November.
I say bold because immediately I see a three problems. It is a well known fact that Pellegrini’s English isn’t great ergo, you would fear that we’d move back to when Scolari was in charge during his ill-fated stint at Chelsea in 2008/09. Interviews through a translator, players looking bewilded on the pitch as he tries to get his tactical point across, wrong answers to questions being answered by him to the media, it just spells more awkwardness and that is something I’m sure we all dont want.
The second problem here is this; What has he actually won in Europe?! The Intertoto Cup in 2004 with Villarreal – hardly a trophy!! Couple that in with a Champions League quarter-final apperance also with Villarreal and a 2nd place finish in La Liga with Real Madrid and thats about your lot. I may add at this point a Real Madrid side which contained Kaka, Ronaldo & Benzema. He was backed heavily in the transfer market by Florentino Perez (something I’m sure Roman would also do) and he had nothing to show for it. Now maybe I’m being abit harsh here, they did finish on 96 points and Barcelona finished on 99 points to take the title but having been knocked out by Lyon in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a team containing the aforementioned players plus Xabi Alonso & Iker Casillas, you’d expect a better return, especially in Europe. He has faired a little better whilst at Malaga this season, a 4th place finish last season gave them their first ever Champions League adventure (We all know what this feels like) which was ended by Dortmund last week, however they currently sit 5th in La Liga on 50 points, 4 points behind Real Sociedad. Ask yourself this question; How would we react if this time next year, with him in charge, we were 5th and 4 points adrift of 4th place? Would we see that as progress? Highly doubtful. My final issue is this; Jose Mourinho. Now I’m guilty (as I’m sure most of us are) of feeling a sense of loss and ‘what-if’s’ because of how Jose left in 2007 and then (unsurprisingly) went on to win pretty much everything he’s touched.
I’ve never known ANY set of fans, in all my years of watching (and playing football) then ours being so stubborn in our thoughts about bringing Mourinho back. There was a glorious moment, about 3 weeks ago, where even the club were making the right sort of sounds about bringing him back into the fold, but then we heard about his apparent wage demands of £12million-a-season and suddenly its all gone quiet again. I did read something on Monday saying that he’d let slip he was on his way back to the Bridge but he’s been pushed on it since and has retracted it. He obviously has his own commitments with Real and clearly wants to win them their 10th European crown (and his 3rd) so he’s playing a very smart game at the moment (like he knows how too) and again, for his own ego, turning up at the Bridge in the Summer as a European Champion (again) would suit him perfectly.
But this isn’t about Mourinho per se, the club is bigger than one man. The minimum prerequisite this summer is to find someone who the owner will stick by and who can move us forward again after one of our most disappointing seasons to date. started with 7 trophies to win. Left win one. Its not a great return on a season that promised so much. By moving forward, I think we all expect to seriously challenge for the league and upset the ‘Manchester Monopoly’ whilst fending off Spurs & Arsenal, plus another crack at the Champions League too. My opinion is that Pellegrini wouldn’t be able to deliver this and we’d be in the exact same boat next season but what do I know?! He might get hired, prove me wrong and I would have no problem holding my hands up, tipping my hat to him and saying “Fair play Manuel, you proved me wrong”
A simple message for Mr Abramovich; Get it right this time Roman.
Thanks for reading.
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