Is it Simeone? Is it Allegri? Is it Conte? Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
CFC continues to be a beacon of opacity as nothing but nothing is clear about, well, anything.
Whereas the John Henries of this world leave Liverpool fans in no doubt whatsoever as to what is what, communicating quickly and directly with the fans, even overturning decisions based on their wishes, and even the Man Cities leave no doubt as to the road ahead with Pep Guardiola already signed, CFC does the only thing it seems to do well these: spin, spin and more spin.
The desired effect of getting all the world`s managers ‘linked` with the soon-to-be vacant Chelsea job is for Chelsea to look as if they are in enormous demand from everybody who is anybody.
As we all know, the truth is in fact nearer the opposite, though truth is not a commodity in big supply at Stamford Bridge these days.
Even a cursory glance at CFC manager selection over the years reveals amateurism of the highest (or is it lowest?) order: ooh, he`s done really well, let`s hire him; ooh, he seems like an up-and-comer and he`ll be cheap which is good because we have to pay off this last bloke who we`ve gone right off; er, who`s the most famous one out there because we need a headline right now, etc etc.
It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.
To be fair, the CFC management selection ‘system` has had its successes – well, come on: even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Success has most notably (if briefly) come with proven managers backed by success, such as José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, and once thanks to a superb, seasoned squad coming together at the height of its powers – unless you want to ascribe the glory of Munich 2012 to the tactical genius of Robbie Di Matteo?
Now we`re back to square one.
Or is it ‘square minus one`, with the world`s three most celebrated managers – Mourinho, Guardiola, Ancelotti – unavailable (four if you choose to include Klopp).
The current front-runners for the Chelsea job are, as we are being informed daily by those media swallowing the Chelsea PR dept spin: Simeone, Allegri and Conte, with outgoing Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli also emerging as a possible.
Sampaoli`s name re-emerged today in a piece by Matt Law of The Telegraph which perhaps makes him a front-runner too: The Telegraph has been one of the papers most eager to lap up anything and everything the CFC spinners have had to offer, prime movers in the almost daily discrediting of José Mourinho.
Chelsea have regretted hiring a former manager of a South American national team once already with the brief ill-fated stint from Big Phil Scolari in 2008/09.
And Scolari was a World Cup winner.
Apart from Scolari`s combustible temperament and his lack of experience of the Premiership, as a national team manager Big Phil didn’t really have the political nous to tip-toe his way around club politics – not least the particularly labyrinthine goings-on behind the scenes at Abramenalo`s CFC.
The first thing international managers discover (or re-discover) when they go to a league club is that they don’t just get to call up the players they want.
As a club manager they are at the mercy of all kinds of forces – principally the managers of other teams who covet the same players that they covet.
That`s if they manage to get their own club`s permission to even pursue particular players in the first place.
As several Chelsea managers have learned to their cost, that is not often the case at Stamford Bridge.
Which is unfortunate because exhaustive research has revealed that in all but the most unique circumstances, transfer market activity is the factor which has most influence on managerial success.
It`s why Carlo and José are as brilliant as they are: they are among the miniscule few who can still make a difference.
Whichever way you look at it, Jorge Sampaoli would be an out-and-out gamble – at least that might be fun.
Which is more than can be said for ‘the Italian contingent` of Allegri and Conte.
While both are successful managers in their own right, their fundamental Italianness ensures that safety first will always be their default/fallback position.
Those who found Mourinho`s pragmatism dull on occasion (on the field that is, not in life!) will be attacking their laptops with renewed vigour shortly into the tenure of either of the above, mark my words.
Of the two Italians, Allegri would be my preference – if only to witness the fun of watching him try and create his kind of squad under the limbo-dance-low ceiling set by Abramenalo.
49 year-old Allegri`s philosophy is that the only way to succeed is with two players of first team ability per position – it will be interesting see how Massimiliano proposes to make that happen with a Chelsea squad currently boasting barely 11 players at that level.
And then there`s one-club one-trick man Diego Simeone – unless you count his league championships in Argentina, which most people don`t not least because the best Argentine players play in Europe.
As Atletico Madrid manager since 2011, Simeone has once won the 3 or 4 way contest that is the Spanish League championship as well as some cups.
Currently his Atletico lie one point ahead of Real in La Liga and a distant six points behind leaders (and winners-to-be) Barcelona.
Simeone`s principal connections to England were his thuggish performances as an enforcer when he played for the Argentine national team.
He will forever be remembered for his central role in David Beckham`s sending off v Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.
You can see Simeone most weeks on tv, patrolling the Atletico touchline with the demeanour and explosive temper of a mafia hitman – clearly Diego hasn`t changed much.
I would love to see Simeone at Stamford Bridge. If I was an Manchester Utd, City, Arsenal or Liverpool fan.
The mere idea of Simeone and Emenalo in the same room!
Far far lesser than Mourinho in achievement, far far more explosive in temperament, Simeone`s stint at Stamford Bridge would be fun mostly because it would be very very brief and eventful – there may even be actual physical violence.
Of the outsiders being ‘considered` for the Chelsea job, Mauricio Pochetino seems far too sensible to risk a burgeoning career for a bit of fast cash.
Getting Pochetino to step down to a club not even close to the Europa League right now is either laughable or laughably expensive.
Make no mistake, potential lack of Champions League football isn`t only a very real barrier to landing a great manager.
Thibaut Courtois is the latest to allegedly express disinterest in staying at a Champions League football-less Chelsea (ironically, the lanky Belgian`s patchy current form could also be a major contributor to that eventuality.)
Lack of top level European competition is one of the two major obstacles to attracting the desired manager to Stamford Bridge.
The main way to try and overcome such an eventuality is to attract a manager who is such a draw with such a track record that Champions League football is all but guaranteed, if not this year then next.
Sadly, Abramenalo have just sacked the only manager in the world with the cv to fulfill such a desire.
This is a statement of cold hard fact, not just a reflection of this writer`s admiration for the Special One, which is a given (until he crosses the line and joins a Premiership rival.)
The only other manager with similar cachet is Guardiola, though his consistency outside the cosy continuity of the Nou Camp, not to mention the limited competition of La Liga and the Bundesliga, remains to be confirmed.
Bayern have already snapped up the next obvious candidate, leaving Chelsea in something of a pickle – though a pickle entirely of their own making.
The second major obstacle to us retaining a world-class manager is Abramenalo.
To paraphrase the few journalists without their snouts in the CFC spin trough, why would any self-respecting manager want to work for a management that ties their hands in the transfer market and then awaits even the briefest failure with its finger on a hair-trigger?
Given these factors, what are the odds that Abramenalo has the wit to use this as an opportunity rather than a problem?
Why overpay for some retread? Why not identify the new coming manager before they cost £10 million a year?
I guess the question is whether there`s anybody at CFC at the moment with the kind of insight necessary to unearth undiscovered managerial talent – recent selections seem to have been made from the headlines of the sports pages.
Even I could do that.
Instead, show me a manager who has done more with less than Ronald Koeman: even after having his best players taken by bigger teams, Koeman`s Saints are still in sixth.
Or how about Bilić, another who clearly ‘gets` the Premiership and is doing a lot with not a lot?
Or even Sean Dyche, a talented and charismatic manager hampered only by a complete lack of resources (relatively speaking) and even now making a terrific fist of returning Burnley straight back to the Premiership?
The fact is that the mess Abramenalo has made of things is unlikely to be tidied up in the next season, maybe even the one after that.
And as Emenalo has emerged as the one with the keys to the car, give him a talented but open-minded manager to work with for a season or two and see let`s see what Emenalo can really do.
Were that to happen, of course, the incoming manager would have to strike a highly lucrative deal, knowing that having someone behind you isn’t necessarily a benefit.
Sometimes it just makes it easier for them to stab you in the back.
Chelsea Managerial Search Farce Continues
Is it Simeone? Is it Allegri? Is it Conte? Is it a bird? Is it a plane?