The five favourites to replace Sarri as Chelsea manager

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s long held vision of turning his club into a side renowned for playing attractive football, saw the Russian Billionaire hire Italian coach Maurizio Sarri last summer.

The 61-year-old former Napoli boss arrived at Stamford Bridge with a reputation for playing some of the most aesthetically pleasing possession based football in Europe.

However, after a blistering start to life at Stamford Bridge, things have recently turned sour for Sarri, with his side losing their last three away games at an aggregate score of 12-0, which included a humiliating 6-0 loss away to Man City last weekend.

Now, while it might seem a bit mental that Sarri’s position is reportedly under threat with his side still fighting on four fronts, but this is Chelsea after all so normal rules don’t apply. Therefore, we’ve decided to play devil’s advocate and check out the five favourites to replace the embattled Italian in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

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Laurent Blanc 8/1

Blanc is one of those names that is perennially on these lists for the pretty basic reason that he is available, having been out of work since leaving PSG in the summer of 2016.

The 53-year-old was a truly world class operator during his playing days, with the former centre-back winning the World Cup with France in 1998, and representing clubs of the ilk of Barcelona, Inter Milan and Manchester United.

Despite enjoying success managing Bordeaux and PSG, Blanc has never coached outside France, meaning it would be a massive step up for him to take on a job with one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.

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Jose Mourinho 8/1

They couldn’t, could they? Well, the camel coats think there’s a chance, anyway. Mourinho managed Chelsea already on two occasions, winning the three Premier League titles, although both of his reigns at Stamford Bridge came to acrimonious endings after the 56-year-old fell out with the clubs hierarchy and playing squad.

Mourinho is of course available after he was sacked by Manchester United just before Christmas, and he has admitted that he expects to be back in charge of an elite club in the near future.

It would be an incredible move for Abramovich to rehire Mourinho, although this is Chelsea after all, and the Premier League just doesn’t feel the same without a pantomime villain.

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Gianfranco Zola 6/1

Chelsea legend Zola and current Blues assistant manager is fancied as a potential successor to Sarri. Zola is adored by the Stamford Bridge faithful, having mesmerised fans of the West London club with his superb playmaking and dead ball abilities from 1996-2003.

However, the Italian is one of those players who has struggled to translate his brilliance from the pitch to the dugout, and as fans of West Ham, Watford and Birmingham City will attest he’s a pretty woeful coach.

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Zinedine Zidane 5/2

Zidane has been out of work since walking away from Real Madrid just days after lifting his third successive Champions League trophy in Kiev last May, and according to reports, he is the man Chelsea want to take over the Stamford Bridge hot seat.

The 46-year-old Frenchman’s case is a weird one, he won a sensational nine trophies in under three years in charge of Los Blancos, but there are still those who doubt his ability as a coach, with many believing that his job at the Bernabeu was more as a facilitator of ego’s rather than that of a tactician.

Zidane’s name alone carries huge gravitas and Chelsea’s star player Eden Hazard’s idolises the former Real Madrid boss; something the Blues hierarchy will no doubt be aware of as they try and persuade the Belgium international to sign a new contract.

Having been heavily linked with the Manchester United job recently and currently in the process of learning English, it does seem likely that Zizou will end up in the Premier League sooner or later.

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Frank Lampard 5/2

Chelsea’s record goalscorer Lampard is synonymous with the most successful period in the Blues history, having won three Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 13 seasons at Stamford Bridge.

The 40-year-old only began his managerial career during the summer with Derby, but he has impressed as his side fight it out to qualify for the playoffs in the Championship, and he masterminded a famous victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this season in the Carabao Cup.

Lampard is undoubtedly the most romantic option, and although he has tried to distant himself from links to a Chelsea return, there is little doubt he just wouldn’t be able to turn an offer from his former club should it happen.

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