5 Possible Replacements For Antonio Conte At Chelsea
Yesterday's 4-1 humbling by Watford may prove to be the final game Antonio Conte will have as Chelsea manager. Working under an owner - Roman Abramovich - not known for his patience, Conte has seemed like a man expecting the worst for a couple of months now. It has to be said that his team haven't endured a terrible season: Chelsea find themselves in 4th place, only 6 points off Manchester United in 2nd position.
Compared to the difficulties Jose Mourinho suffered in his 2nd season after winning the league in 2015, when he departed the club in 16th place, just above the relegation zone, then one can be justified in being bewildered by the debate around Conte's position.
Chelsea haven't been anywhere near as good as they were last season but that was always going to be hard to replicate, given they faced a threat from the 2 resurgent Manchester clubs. Conte, too, hasn't become a bad manager overnight, and a lot of the blame lies with his players who simply haven't performed well enough.
However, most in the media and Conte himself seem to think that his time is up; the Italian looked like a broken man after the defeat last night.
Abramovich likes to act swiftly and he most likely would already have been considering possible targets to replace his head coach. This article looks at 5 of the best options to take over from Conte, should he be fired this season.
#5 Didier Deschamps
The French national team coach has been in charge of them for over 5 years now and seems settled in national management. He took the French national team to the final of Euro 2016 on home soil, only to lose agonizingly by a solitary goal against Portugal.
What must excite Deschamps is that he has the most talented generation of French young players at his disposal in a long time (Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman, Paul Pogba, and Ousmane Dembele to name just some).
He does, however, have a history with Chelsea, having enjoyed 1 season at Stamford Bridge towards the end of his playing career, exiting as an FA Cup winner in 2000. Managing a club and national side together has been done before and should Chelsea need someone to steer them safely into next season, Deschamps may relish the challenge of a return to club management while he waits for the World Cup to arrive this summer.
He enjoyed a distinguished club management career in France, too, winning Ligue 1 with Marseille in 2010 and taking Monaco to an unlikely Champions League final in 2004 before that.
Chelsea also has 3 main French players in their squad in N'Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Olivier Giroud, who would do well to be under the guidance of their national team coach for the rest of the campaign.
Abramovich has found success by appointing experienced coaches like Guus Hiddink to see Chelsea through to the end of a season before, and there's no doubt that Deschamps could perform a similar role. It would be an unlikely but perfect match.