Stamford Bridge interim boss needs Champions League success to guarantee permanent post.
There are many football pundits and fans predicting that Roberto Di Matteo will be pretty much guaranteed to be handed the Chelsea manager’s job on a permanent should he guide the team to FA Cup glory at Wembley over Liverpool this weekend.
The former Blues midfielder, who scored an FA Cup final goal himself for the club in his playing days has done everything and more since he took the reins from the sacked Andre Villas-Boas in March. His record in the 17 games since he took over is second to none with just two defeats, four draws and eleven wins. Above everything, he defied all the odds to guide Chelsea to victory over Barcelona to reach the Champions League final for only the second time in the club’s history; a feat that even Jose Mourinho could not manage!
FA Cup and Champions League final appearances should surely be enough for him to be rewarded with a full time contract but the fact that defeat to Newcastle this week looks likely to leave Chelsea short of finishing fourth leaves the question of who will be next Chelsea manger still open for debate. One only needs to recall Avram Grant taking the Blues to their previous Champions League final in 2008 only to be shown the door after defeat to Manchester United on penalties in Moscow.
The Bookmakers certainly believe he will get the job and he is now rated as a general 8/11 chance from as big as 33/1 when first being asked to take temporary charge two months ago.
The lack of viable alternatives is another reason why Di Matteo looks set to be given a chance long term, next in the betting is Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola who are both around a 6/1 but it has to be considered highly unlikely that the current Real Madrid boss would return to Stamford Bridge whilst Roman Abramovic is still the owner after he was dismissed in 2007 and Guardiola has made it abundantly clear that he wants to take break from football after announcing that he will step down from his position as Barcelona manager at the end of the current season.
Harry Redknapp is another candidate at odds of 10/1. He lost out to Roy Hodgson for the England job and whether that is down to his choice of the FA’s is unknown but the fact that he is believed to have considered leaving Spurs to take up the post at Lancaster Gate suggests that he may not be averse to a move from White Hart Lane. With the prospect of losing a number of key players at the end of the season, including Luca Modric who may well be Stamford Bridge bound himself and Gareth Bale who has been linked with Real Madrid, it would be no surprise to see Harry decide that he has taken Tottenham as far as he can if Chelsea did come calling.
Others names that have been mentioned include Rafa Benitez, German manager, Joachim Low and David Moyes all of whom it is difficult to imagine taking over at Stamford Bridge.
All the signs point towards Roberto Di Matteo being handed the chance of taking charge of the team, his record and the team’s performances certainly suggest that he’s worthy of a chance but whether Abramovich is of that same opinion remains unseen and the result in Munich on Saturday 19th May could go a long way in determining who is the Chelsea boss come the start of next season.