Redknapp? Guardiola? Chelsea look for alternatives to Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo is not guaranteed the manager's job after Champions League win
ONLY AT Chelsea could a manager win the FA Cup and Champions League within the space of a fortnight and still find himself facing an uncertain future.
At any normal club Roberto Di Matteo would be lauded for his remarkable achievement in turning around a Blues side that back in February was in danger of imploding. But Chelsea don't do normal – witness their eight managers in nine seasons – and owner Roman Abramovich is still mulling over Di Matteo's future.
Even as the Chelsea squad savoured their extraordinary triumph over Bayern Munich on Saturday night, a triumph that secured them their first Champions League title, club chairman Bruce Buck was dampening speculation that Di Matteo would be given a permanent deal at the Bridge.
"Our job and our objective is to do what's best for Chelsea Football Club and we have to sit down and figure that out," said Buck, who said it had been six weeks since he and Abramovich had discussed the managerial situation at Chelsea.
But pressed on Di Matteo's contribution Buck hardly gave a ringing endorsement of his candidature. "[Di Matteo's] shown the ability to put them where they should be," explained Buck. "They are great technical players, we all agree that, but something was going wrong and he was able to turn it around. He deserves a lot of credit for that."
A lot? Di Matteo has achieved what some of the most respected coaches in the game have failed to do, namely bring Europe's premier trophy to Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Luiz Felipe Scolari all missed out on Champions League glory while at Chelsea but Di Matteo pulled it off just three months after he replaced Andre Villas-Boas as the Blues' caretaker manager.
What may have a crucial bearing on Abramovich's thinking is the feeling among the players. The Guardian reports that they have "made it clear" to the Russian that they want Di Matteo to continue in the job; reportedly there were chants of "we want him to stay" from the players on Saturday night as the Italian received the congratulations of Abramovich in the dressing room.
Among the other names apparently being considered by Abramovich for the post are Barcelona's former coach Pep Guardiola, French national coach Laurent Blanc, Spurs' manager Harry Redknapp and former England coach Fabio Capello.
But Chelsea are aware they must tread carefully in appointing a full-time manager. Villas-Boas was ultimately undone by player power and were Abramovich to go against the wishes of his temperamental squad it could cause further tension in the dressing room. "That's one of the considerations," admitted Buck when asked whether it might be dangerous to defy the players' favourite. "It's not been a subject on our agenda for the last six weeks and now we have to sit down and make it our number one subject."
Meanwhile The Daily Telegraph moots the possibility that Abramovich might walk away from Chelsea following Saturday's defeat of Bayern Munich. Since taking charge of the club nine years ago the Champions League title has been the Russian's Holy Grail and to that end he's invested close to a £1billion. With the Grail now bagged, the Telegraph claims that "some close to Abramovich feel that the Champions League win could signal the completion of his interest in the club". ·