Is signing Daniele Rugani more important to Chelsea than hiring a new manager?
Among the Premier League top-six clubs, only one has left its players and fans in obscurity regarding who would be conjuring up tactics and managing its dressing room next season; Chelsea. With that matter still cycling the air like a hawk seeking prey, Chelsea has gone all out in their pursuit of Juventus defender, Daniele Rugani. The Blues obsession with Rugani isn’t just another façade, they’ve reportedly made contact with the Old Lady and tabled a £30million bid for the 23-year-old Italian. That bid was rejected. Shouldn’t Chelsea get its house in other first before inviting someone else in?
No matter how you look at it, getting a substantive manager early enough is not a leisure for any side in the top tier, it’s a necessity. It took Real Madrid less than 14 days to appoint Julen Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane’s successor following the Frenchman’s resignation. Los Blancos were not stupid, they could’ve waited till after the World Cup to get their man, still, they went ahead to disrupt the Spanish contingent in Russia. Don’t fault the Merengues. They simply understand a phenomenon that still looks like rocket science in West London.
Here’s what a recognised manager at the helm would bring to the table:
- His success strategy for the new season
- A stance on which players to sign or let go
- Early preparation for the coming season beginning with preseason games.
Chelsea is behind on all fronts.
Ironically, Antonio Conte still remains Chelsea’s manager, although the man is almost sure he won’t be in a job next month. Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri who has been cast to the side by Napoli is looking at Chelsea to save him from unemployment.
From their body language, the Chelsea board has made it clear they do not want a manager who would whine and wail about not being backed in the transfer market. Their cup of tea is a soft-spoken gaffer who’d just follow orders and coach the players thrust at him. Perhaps this is why the Blues would rather lavish millions on a footballer than swiftly sort out their managerial debacle.
There’s a severance package that should reach £9million if Antonio Conte gets sacked. Napoli won’t accept a compensation of less than £5million for their ex-manager; it implies that, at the very maximum, it would cost Chelsea £14 million to say addio to Conte and benvenuto to Sarri. That’s not even up to half the amount they’re willing to pay for Rugani. What’s the catch?
Is Rugani worth the hassle?
Some digging was done on Rugani to see if he’s worth all the clamour. Yea. Maybe a little. But he’s no better than David Luiz or Antonio Rüdiger. He simply fits the bill of a typically astute and fearless young Italian defender who could mature quickly into becoming a Giorgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci.
There’s also this link he has with Conte and Sarri. After Juve signed Rugani in 2013, they immediately loaned him back to Empoli where he became a regular. He went on to make 81 appearances in two seasons playing under the tutelage of the ex-Napoli boss. Rugani was then given his first international call-up by Conte who managed Italy between 2015 and 2016.
Rugani started 22 Serie A games for the Old Lady last season, but managed just one in the Champions League. He’s over six-foot tall, good in the air and reads the game well. But like I said, he’s no Luiz or Rüdiger.
With the 2018-19 preseason already at the door, Chelsea would be giving themselves a better fighting chance for next season if they swiftly conclude whatever business they have for Sarri rather than playing the waiting game with Napoli over his compensation package. If Sarri is hired early enough, the Italian could lure a player like Dries Martens to the club. That would be a marquee signing for the Blues.