Chelsea should go all out for Brendan Rodgers
It is not an open secret that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will leave Stamford Bridge at season's end. He has burnt his bridges with the club hierarchy. The Italian tactician has complained bitterly about not being able to improve his title-winning squad. The club has made a mess of their title defence in the Premier League.
Several names have been bandied as potential replacements but the Blues should think about employing Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman is rebuilding his reputation in Scotland. He would make a decent fit with the West London outfit. Here’s why.
He knows the club
The former Liverpool manager was an academy manager at Chelsea when Jose Mourinho was in charge in 2004. He was highly regarded as a man to watch out for in the future but knew he had to leave the club to forge his career as a head coach. He coached the Chelsea reserves for two years and will accept that he has no power over transfers. There will be no complaints when the club doesn’t back him in the transfer window. He is a man that knows how to get the best from the players at his disposal.
He improves players
Rodgers is a man known for his work with young players. He is not afraid to promote from the academy. Chelsea managers under Abramovich have always held that fear. The oligarch has pumped in millions to the academy setup but has only seen a smattering of players move up the grade. Andreas Christensen is the first to establish himself in the first team in recent years.
Attractive attacking football
Under Conte this term, Chelsea have become stale and predictable. The players have suffered fatigue after Conte failed to reduce the intensity of his training sessions despite the presence of Champions League football. While in the Mourinho coaching tree rather than Pep Guardiola's, Rodgers plays a brand of football that is genuinely attacking and not defeatist. Last season, his Celtic team stood toe-to-toe with City at Parkhead in the Champions League, playing an attacking style that, as Liverpool did this term, pegged City back.
While at Liverpool, he was derided for his inability to win silverware. He is on course for back-to-back domestic trebles in Scotland. Yes, winning trophies will be harder in England but he now knows the joy and euphoria of being the best.
Chelsea need a new manager. Many previous players have stated their admiration of Rodgers man-management skills. A disheartened Chelsea squad could use some faith and trust.
A point to prove
Despite almost winning the Premier League title with Liverpool back in 2014, he was sacked from his job months into the 2015/16 season. He will come back to England a better manager with a point to prove. That combination will be perfect for Chelsea, who are also looking to bounce back after a difficult season.
That being said, Antonio Conte's only hope of winning silverware this season will be tested on Sunday. His side face Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday. Ironically, victory means another date with that "little man", Jose Mourinho, and Manchester United.
The Italian manager lost 2-1 to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side in the last season FA Cup final. This fixture will be a make or break for Conte in tasting his first and possibly only domestic cup success in England.