Saturday 24 February 2018

Benitez not in Chelsea running

THE best job in the world? Surely it has to be the manager of Chelsea Football Club. Given the runaround Andre VillasBoas was just subjected to you might have reason to pause before accepting a call from Roman Abramovich ( below).

Then again the Russian pays well. Really bloody well. Andre Villas-boas was on something like £4.5 million pounds a year to manage the club and, despite getting the old heave-ho, AVB, as the Portuguese became known, will continue to draw that salary until his contract expires (unless, as is customary, the club pays off the remainder of his multi-year deal in bulk).

He's the sixth Chelsea manager to have been sacked by Abramovich well before his contract was due to expire – after Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Filipe Scolari and Carlo Ancellotti were show the door at Stamford Bridge.

During the Abramovich reign the amount of money paid out by Chelsea to recruit and then dispose of managers has been astronomical – enough to fund a midtable side's transfer spending for a couple of seasons, at least.

On the AVB debacle alone Chelsea have spent something close to £60m – £13.5 to buy out AVB'S Porto contract, something similar on his wages and something in the region of £28m to get rid of Ancellotti (who, you know, just happened to win Chelsea their first ever double).

It's a crazy way to run a football club. The results of which have manifested themselves in the club's side from greatness to mediocrity since the initial sacking of Mourinho. The tenuous grasp managers have had on their jobs has allowed the players to get far above their station. The Chelsea tail is wagging the dog with predictably horrible results.

From a sporting point of view any talented manager would be wary of accepting the Chelsea gig, but with the money on offer, up front and in the form of a likely pay-off, means there will be no shortage of candidates willing to try their hand.

Need proof? The fact that Rafa Benitez was linked with the job and didn't disavow the story. For a man, who fought tooth and nail for two years with the Liverpool board for more control over the club, to consider taking on a club where a Russian oligarch runs the show is telling.

Sadly for Rafa (and his bank manager) he hasn't a hope of getting the job. If Abramovich wanted him at the club he'd be there right now. Appointing Roberto Di Matteo until the end of the season is just a way of keeping the seat warm for Jose Mourinho. That's the likely outcome. It's a funny old game isn't it?

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