With Chelsea looking for yet another manager here is a look at some coaches who may be a better solution than sending for the 'special one'
With Chelsea set to be looking for their ninth manager of the Roman Abramovich era this summer, here are some potential candidates outside of the ones that have already been widely discussed. I see no reason to list the accomplishments of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Rafael Benitez etc so they are deliberately not included on the list. The list is not full of coaches who I necessarily feel should or could get the job but is simply a list to provoke thought and discussion away from the candidates already widely discussed.
Massimiliano Allegri, AC Milan
Possibly not the best time to include the manager of the Rossoneri given that he came a Robin Van Persie chip away from presiding over the most remarkable exhibition of choking in champions league history, but Allegri's achievements at Milan in the past 18 months have been hugely impressive. He lead Milan to their first Scudetto since 2004 and are battling with Juventus to retain their title.
If the British media think that the Chelsea dressing room contains difficult characters with rather inflated egos, then one shudders to think what they would make of some of the players that Allegri has dealt with in his short spell in Milan. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Antonio Cassano, Kevin Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, are just some of the characters that the ex-Chievo boss has managed at the San Siro. What is so impressive about Allegri is the way in which he has kept the whole operation from imploding around him. As Gab Marcotti said recently "That's not a football club, that's an asylum". Allegri has overseen a regeneration of Milan that has seen the average age of the squad drop dramatically whilst younger players such as Ignazio Abate and Thiago Silva have flourished.
What chances of Allegri leaving Milan for Stamford Bridge? Well on the surface there is little to suggest that he is a likely candidate for Chelsea. He does not speak English, which apart from 'Fil' Scolari, has always been a constant for Chelsea's managers under Abramovich and he has made no imitations of being unhappy at the club or vice versa and has a contract that runs until the end of the 2013/14 season. He does face the prospect of Europe's best centre half departing for Catalonia but that is unlikely to deter him to the point of wanting to quit.
Luciano Spalletti, Zenit St Petersburg
Given the expected departure of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres' continued search for some semblance of form, bringing in the man who pioneered the strikerless formation might not be such a bad move. Spalletti is one of the most widely respected tacticians on the continent and his Zenit side have consistently produced offensively minded, technical football. Abramovich's obviously close ties with Russia would indicate that Spalletti must at least be on the Russian's radar at some level.
Whether Spalletti would leave Zenit is up for debate, with them recently showing their ambition by aquiring Andrei Arshavin and Milos Krasic not to mention being linked with a return to Serie A with Inter.
Marcelo Bielsa, Athletico Bilbao
As Michael Cox of Zonal Marking said recently, after AVB it's unlikely that what Chelsea are looking for it an even more aggressive form of pressing and a high defensive line which comes as standard with "El Loco". Whilst there is almost zero chance of Bielsa turning up in west London (this is his first season at Athletic) the Argentine is unquestionably one of the most exciting and fascinating coaches in world football and if nothing else the mere idea of him arriving in England is an intriguing prospect. Knocking Manchester United out of Europe (This article was originally penned before the first leg victory at Old Trafford) would certainly not harm Bielsa's prospects.
Didier Deschamps, Marseille
Deschamps has often wondered how his career may have differed had his Monaco team defeated Jose Mourinho's Porto in Gelsenkirchen in 2004. Had Monaco triumphed it may well have been Deschamps arriving in West London that summer, although its hard to imagine him proclaiming himself to be 'a special one'. That does not alter the fact that Deschamps, whilst unlikely to scale the same heights as a manager as he did as a player, has certainly not failed as a coach. After taking Monaco on that extraordinary run to the champions league final, beating Chelsea and Real Madrid on the way he took Juventus back into Serie A as well as achieving a league title with Marseille. He is currently well placed to lead Marseille into another champions league quarter final.
With Marseille looking likely to miss out on champions league football this summer having endured a truly terrible start to the season, it may be they year that Deschamps and the club part ways. Whether this occurs is only one facet of any chance the "water-carrier" has of returning to Chelsea. It is likely that Deschamps will seem too risky a candidate given the manner in which his teams seem to quickly suffer drops after initial success.
Unai Emery, Valencia
If the Valencia boss has aspirations of ever winning something tangible he may have to leave Spain and test himself further afield. This is not to say that the 40 year old has not proved himself to be a gifted manager having firmly secured Valencia's position as the "best of the rest" in Spain even despite losing David Silva and David Villa at the start of last season and Juan Mata last summer.
Emery has consistently produced attacking stylish football built around a team of talented but relatively unheralded individuals. He has built a young and tactically aware outfit built around players such as Eva Banega and Jonas whilst Roberto Soldado has been on fire all year. Juan Mata would certainly provide a strong character reference for his old boss and the fact that Emery has grown accustomed to losing star players from the dressing room the likely removal of Messrs Lampard, Terry, Drogba etc would be unlikely to deter him.
David Moyes, Everton
Although receiving a few tentative mentions in certain quarters of the press the Everton boss surely has to be worthy of consideration and if he is not considered for this job it is difficult to imagine a time when he ever will be acceptable to a really top club in England. Being the third longest serving manager in the premier league behind Ferguson and Wenger is no mean feat in itself but when you factor in the constraints that he has had to work under at Goodison Park it becomes even more impressive. The major blank on his CV is that he has never really made any notable impact on Europe be it falling to Villereal in the qualifying stages of the champions league or over a number of eufa cup/europa league campaigns.