After being knocked out in the last eight of the Champions League, Chelsea have finished in second place, Carlo Ancelotti has been fired and along with an ageing side; the cracks now visible at Stamford Bridge may be a bigger than they appear.
On Sunday 22nd Chelsea Football Club made an announcement that stated “Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Carlo Ancelotti parted company with the club today”. Following a loss to Everton at Goodison Park Roman Abramovich made the decision to part company with the Italian.
Why was Carlo Ancelotti’s position being considered at all? It’s a question that has been tabled time and time again by football supporters as Roman Abramovich has picked off, and deemed incapable of controlling his team. Managers including Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari and now Carlo Ancelotti did not forget how to manage in their short time at Chelsea; Jose Mourinho conquered Europe with both Porto and Inter, and Carlo Ancelotti is the same manager that won the Champions League twice with AC Milan. Given the time and funds, a world class manager is capable of success in the long term.
The concern for a consistent manager is all the more pressing in the coming season as another African Cup of Nations approaches and Chelsea will be forced to spend the busy Christmas and January periods without the likes of Didier Drogba (if he is still at the club), Michael Essien, (who’s role at Chelsea is almost as key as Drogba’s), Mikel John Obi and our Messi-esque attacking winger Salomon Kalou. Chelsea will be desperate to avoid another dreadful dip in form, and may have been able to do so if Carlo Ancelotti was allowed to prepare over the summer.
Because of the Russian’s trigger happy policy when it comes to who takes the helm of Chelsea FC, we as a club are not prepared for the future. Chelsea are not prepared for the looming, and inevitable departure of John Terry (30), Frank Lampard (33 next month) Ashley Cole (30) and most importantly Didier Drogba (33). The latter has become such a key member of the team, to the extent that Chelsea are hazardously vulnerable without him. This is the same player that has, since his arrival in 2004 only been able to play three of six Champions’ League group stage phases because of suspension the previous year, whether because of a collision in 2005, a slap in 2008, a ‘disgrace’ in 2009 or a stamp in 2010.
Drogba has dived, feigned injury and overheated since his arrival time after time, tarnishing his reputation as arguably the best striker in the world. And why? Didier Drogba needs to win. Whether he’s sulking, moaning or arguing with the officials or team mates, it is because he is desperate to win. A similar (more reserved passion) can be found in John Terry and Frank Lampard and we as a team are not prepared for their departure.
Chelsea need Didier Drogba with them next year, even to play as a squad member allowing a new era at Chelsea, (as dramatic as it sounds, Drogba has shaped Chelsea since his arrival in 2004, and when he leaves Chelsea must be prepared to adapt) whether Fernando Torres is met with a partner under a new 4-4-2 formation, or if the Ivorian is required to develop and nurture a younger version of himself, his departure this summer would be premature and detrimental to Chelsea.
Roman Abramovich has done amazing things for Chelsea, but his inability to stick with one man for more than two or three seasons has left Chelsea in a rut that could ruin them. No manager is able to look more than two years into the future, and as Abramovich reaches out to Romelu Lukaku and Andres Villas-Boas in an attempt to replace Didier Drogba and Jose Mourinho with carbon copies, he has seemingly forgotten that they are not Didier Drogba or Jose Mourinho.
The same can be said for the young Josh McEachran, with the weight of Stamford Bridge on his shoulders the intention is that he will replace Frank Lampard, the fact that they are different players in technique and frame appears to elude the powers that be at Stamford Bridge, and rather than making a new Frank Lampard to play alongside the new Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho in David Luiz, Chelsea should instead look to create a ‘new’ and unique team based on the strengths of new players, and not those of old ones.
Had it not been for the appointment of Frank Arnesen in 2005, a new generation of Chelsea players such as Jeffrey Bruma, Gael Kakuta, Patrick Van Anholt, Ryan Bertrand, Josh McEachran, Nathaniel Chalobah, Daniel Sturridge and David Luiz (whether brought through the Chelsea ranks or scouted at a young age), would not be available to step in and replace the ageing pensioners. Though most of these prodigies are unproven, the potential that they supposedly hold, and the idea that they could link up with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Brazilian revelations Lucas Piazon (the newest of the new Kaka’s, perhaps based only on looks) and Santos’ ever more expensive Neymar gives some hope for a Chelsea FC a few years from now.
As dramatic as it sounds from a worried Chelsea supporter in a doomsday piece, the departure of Carlo Ancelotti from Chelsea could have an astonishing effect on the club as a whole. Abramovich must allow a manager to stay based on their long term success, giving one manager the time to secure the foundations of Chelsea in a time of vital transition, and not whether they bring the Champions League to Stamford Bridge. The neglect of such a pressing concern could lead to Chelsea hiring and firing another three or four managers in the next five years, spending more and more wildly as Chelsea slip down the table.
Replaced by a Manchester City side with the funds to join Manchester United and Real Madrid as the best ever in Europe, an Arsenal side whose work and business ethic will surely bring them the sweetest of success in the near future, (assuming that they lose Nicklas Bendtner and buy a cultured centre back) and a Manchester United squad that Ferguson will surely leave in a good state and in capable hands in the near future, Chelsea could well look back at the mid noughties as the pinnacle of the clubs success.
With Harry Redknapp steering a Tottenham side littered with stars (and Crouch) to the quarter finals of the Champions League and Kenny Dalglish revitalising a Liverpool side on the up, it could already be too late, and the departure of Carlo Ancelotti could send the club into a state of potential disrepair.