COPENHAGEN DENMARK - FEBRUARY 22: Chelsea Manager Carlo Ancelotti looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between FC Copenhagen and Chelsea at Parken Stadium on February 22 2011 in Copenhagen Denmark. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
According to SI's usually Carrie Baird, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti and owner Roman Abramovich have agreed that the veteran manager and Chelsea will part ways in the summer, just one year after Ancelotti won the league and FA Cup double in his first year in charge of the club. Apparently, the search for a new manager is apparently already underway, and Baird gives the top choices as Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, and Hank ten Cate, who served as our assistant manager under Avram Grant.
If true, this is obviously huge news for Chelsea, but I have to admit that if we can't get Jose Mourinho or Guus Hiddink back, I'd rather see Carlo stay with the team. He has his flaws, but he's also had Chelsea playing exceptionally well on occasion, and he brings a certain amount of respect to a club that hasn't always projected an aura of classiness. It'd be a shame to lose him over a season that was essentially not his fault.
While van Basten and Rijkaard are known quantities, ten Cate is a little more dubious - I'd have my doubts as to why we'd select a man best known as Frank Rijkaard's assistant to run the team (apart from the fact that he and Abramovich are apparently friends). I'm pretty concerned about how involved Abramovich seems to be getting with the managerial hunt, but it's his team and I guess he can do what he likes.
Other tidbits from the video:
- Chelsea would rather play in a 4-3-3 and will apparently recruit to fit that formation, which means that those rumours of buying wing-forwards like Neymar, Alexis Sanchez (who Chelsea were after in January), and Eden Hazard have some real meat behind them.
- Andrea Pirlo was a transfer target in the winter window, which would have been a slightly bizarre stop-gap move. Pirlo would obviously have helped the passing and could have served as a fun mentor to Josh McEachran, but he'd have been far too expensive relative to his output, I suspect.
- Chelsea attempted to buy Barcelona centre back Gerard Pique but he's no longer in the picture. Obviously, they ended up with the far more charming David Luiz instead, so I'm cool with that, but it really does sound like the Blues were going nuts with Abramovich's cash in the window.
If nothing else, watching the video is really interesting to see the perspective an insider has on things.