Roman Abramovich may never have known a greater sense of loss in his time as Chelsea owner. Following Pep Guardiola’s announcement that the Catalan is on his way to Bayern Munich in the summer, the Russian owner has certainly lost a treasure, albeit one he never actually had.
Where does Abramovich turn now? There’s little use in looking to Spain now, as the biggest name currently employed in La Liga was the first manager to really get the ball rolling in this game of lunacy. What about Germany? The current holders of the Bundesliga title will battle anyone who wishes to make an approach for their manager, and it’s incredibly unlikely Jurgen Klopp will look to leave the imposing fortress of Signal Iduna Park anytime soon.
Joachim Low is a no-go, Carlo Ancelotti is damaged goods, Holland might be interesting, but Frank de Boer would be foolish to leave Ajax now. The well appears to have run dry for Abramovich, which, coincidently, is all of his own making.
But maybe it’s coincidence that Chelsea’s pursuit of a new manager falls in line with David Moyes and his stalling of a new contract at Everton. Moyes has always been deserving of one of the top jobs in England, and these links to the impending vacant post at Chelsea should predominately be based on merit, rather than a lack of choices elsewhere.
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The issue here is that Moyes isn’t as glamorous as the other names. He’s a British manager doing extremely well in the Premier League but without the glitz, trophies and star-studded name. Even if his record in England would suggest he’d be a fine choice to replace Rafa Benitez, Moyes himself should be taking his time over this one. It might be the big job he deserves, but does he deserve everything that goes with it?
It has been assumed that Moyes could be the one to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and certainly that makes for better reading and a better environment than at Stamford Bridge. Imagine Abramovich’s despair were he to be snubbed by yet another manager, and this time one who he would argue should be grateful for such an offer.
You can’t really blame Moyes if he does decide to look past the Chelsea job. After all, shouldn’t Abramovich just be looking to blame himself for the current position of the club and its arguable loss of attraction to managers?
Don’t get me wrong, Chelsea will still be able to entice a large selection of managers, but people like David Moyes are not struggling for recognition; the Everton boss will have other offers elsewhere, and certainly from clubs who are far more defined in what they want to achieve.
Abramovich knows what he wants, but he really doesn’t seem to know how to achieve it. Well, maybe he does. But there’s no question that he’s completely out of touch with what should be expected in football and how unrealistic it is to assume that there will always be highs like European glory.
Moyes is a very good manager, but we don’t know if he’s capable of making the immediate step up and offering Chelsea another European cup. It’s nothing against him; we’ve seen it plenty of times in the past, where Klopp’s Dortmund looked woeful in their Champions League campaign last season, finishing bottom of the group and looking nothing of the champions they were in Germany. Yes, there has been significant improvement in Dortmund this season, but it took time and some degree of learning on the job. There is no chance Moyes will be offered that level of patience, especially if Roberto Di Matteo was shown the door following his triumph in Munich.
It was suggested prior to the start of the season that some owners or chairmen may have their reservations about Moyes due to the fact he likes to take on a lot of work behind the scenes, including on player recruitment. Just as Guardiola has his methods that may have been compromised at Chelsea, Moyes should put his own principles ahead of a potential big job.
At Chelsea, he’ll have unwanted players parachuted in, while in turn feeling the pressure to keep them in the team despite poor performances. It will never feel like his squad or his club, but rather just a job where his managerial expertise was deemed good enough for him to watch over some other guy’s play thing.
Everton’s future may be uncertain as a team capable of finishing in a European place in the Premier League if they don’t receive outside investment. What happens if Moyes’ stock unexpectedly plummets if he fails to keep the wheel turning? Just as the well has appeared to run dry for Abramovich, there may come a time where Moyes’ efforts won’t be enough to keep Everton’s head above water.
The other side of the argument is that outside factors do support Everton to form a solid standing in English football, and one which helps Moyes build and sustain a strong a team. Then it remains his team, his way of thinking, his guidance which will help raise Everton’s profile in English football. I don’t believe that in spite of smart management, the top tier of the Premier League is closed off to those lacking in heavy financial backing.
Moyes is deserving of a big job elsewhere, but he shouldn’t rush into the first offer that arrives. What can he offer to Chelsea that would see him outlast even Jose Mourinho’s time at Stamford Bridge? Is he likely to charge to success in all domestic competitions in his first season? Well a Premier League title will be the minimum requirement.
The situation Abramovich has put himself into shouldn’t be the concern of Moyes. He’s far too good a manager to dance along to the puppet master’s tune; as were others, but we’re far more wise to the thinking of Abramovich now than we were a few seasons ago.
Written by Thomas Hallett