The Andy Gray Column: Chelsea are running out of world-class options

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to SouthWest Londoner…


THERE’S no chance Roman Abramovich will stick with Rafa Benitez for next season, but it’s clear that after Pep Guardiola went to Germany, Chelsea are running out of world-class options.

With an offer from Bayern Munich on the table Pep Guardiola was never going to come to Stamford Bridge – but that doesn’t mean the Premier League has somehow lost the bragging rights as the best in the world.

You can tell it is the most popular and exciting league in the world by a distance, I can tell you that hands down. The examples are clear as day, this league is popular the world over and one decision from a manager doesn’t change that.

But what I will say is I don’t think that Guardiola was a certainty to go to Chelsea anyway. I don’t think Chelsea’s make-up or the type of club it is, would have attracted him.

He may well come into the Premier League at some point, in fact I would be surprised if at some point he didn’t. But he would have been wary of Chelsea’s recent managerial history and you can tell he thrives under the sort of environment available in Munich.

I think it is obvious Abramovich will have to make an appointment for the long term after the fiasco this season. Chelsea fans haven’t warmed to Rafa Benitez but they’ve been consistent in their criticisms, at least.

Any new manager coming in would know they stand in line to get sacked if results don’t go their way so it’s hardly a dream job in that sense. That said, all the managers under Abramovich – successful or not – have left Stamford Bridge as very rich men so that might still be enough to lure them over.

He certainly can’t stick with Rafa – Chelsea fans would be up in arms about that and I think quite rightly too. It’s a shame for Benitez because he was just brought in to do a job but it left a sour taste in the mouth and left the club as a bit of a punch line for the rest of this season.

He’s a talented manager – you just have to look at his record to see that – but it was doomed to fail as soon as he took over there because people were so appalled by the treatment of Roberto Di Matteo. But you look through the list of available names and there aren’t too many who look like they would be available.

Chelsea only go for established big names and I can’t see that changing at any time soon.

Jurgen Klopp is a possibility though whether he will want to leave Germany remains to be seen. What is for certain is Abramovich has backed himself into a bit of a corner because he’s left himself with fewer options than surely any other European champion has had available to them.

It’s a risky place to go but with the talent at Chelsea’s disposal I would be incredibly surprised if there weren’t at least a few big-name candidates who throw their hat into the ring.

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