Guus Hiddink may be on his way to returning once again as the manager of Chelsea after his short stay in the second half of 2009 saw him win the FA Cup. Hiddink has the distinction of being the only coach well-received for his duties after a list of coaches following the sacking of Jose Mourinho. The move would be shocking considering the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti who, after not winning anything following the double in 2009, was abruptly fired by Roman Abramovich. Hiddink would return to what many believe is one of the hardest positions in all of the Premier League as manager of the Blues.
Even though Hiddink is still under contract as Turkey coach, the influence of Chelsea may be too much to ignore for the Dutch coach. He would come back to Chelsea where winning the FA Cup was one of his self-proclaimed greatest feats. Whether Hiddink is there as a permanent coach remains to be seen as rumors have been made that he will be there for a year before the London team goes after Mourinho again.
Just like in 2009, Hiddink would inherit a team in the midst of numerous problems. Eight players who play on the first team are now 30 or older which is a telling sign regarding the future of the club. Faces of the club like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Nicholas Anelka, and John Terry have all shown that they are starting to approach the twilight of their careers and Chelsea appears to not have anyone to replace them. Drogba may be on his way out even before he retires as he hasn’t been happy with the lack of playing time and has subsequently been linked to several clubs like the Turkish squad Galatasaray S.K, AC Milan, and Tottenham.
Chelsea also have some liabilities in terms of players who just aren’t performing at their expected levels. No one signifies this more than Fernando Torres, who after Abramovich splashed over 50 million pounds for him in January, Torres returned the favor by scoring one goal in all competitions. He looked like a hollow shell of the prolific goal-scorer he was with Liverpool. He frankly hasn’t been the same since before the 2010 World Cup due to that persistent ankle injury.
Other players who have just haven’t performed well include Ashley Cole, who is starting to look like he’s on the wrong side of 30 after looking helpless at times like against Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia in the Premier League title-deciding match in May. Michael Essien, perhaps due to the constant number of injuries he’s endured, has lacked the explosiveness he was previously capable of. Then, there’s John Obi Mikel, who has just failed to consistently meet his high expectations during his time at Chelsea after being controversially swiped from United.
Chelsea will no doubt continue to be as active as ever during the summer transfer market. They’ve been linked with a large number of players from young stars like Neymar and Romelu Lukaku to proven talents like Luka Modric, Sergio Aguero, Javier Pastore and many more. The squad could look very different by summer’s end in terms of anticipated additions and overdue departures. Abramovich has shown he’s never been afraid to splash exorbitantly on highly-priced footballers.
Chelsea’s form during the second half of the season was remarkable in how they went on a near-perfect run which saw them just three points behind United. There’s still a great amount of experience and Chelsea’s resolve in terms of winning can’t be questioned after only being a year removed from the double. However, what Chelsea and their owner care about to the the point of obsession is the one thing that has always eluded them; the Champions League. Chelsea are, as usual, busy this summer trying to find the pieces needed to start a successful year.
Guus Hiddink is a great coach with a career that speaks for itself. He’s also the only manager in recent history to actually have left on a positive note for Chelsea where the players responded well to him and no one wanted to see him go. He also carries the distinction of having led PSV Eindhoven to a European Cup title in 1988. Therefore, he seems like he may be the best to handle the issues at Chelsea right now. Yet, expecting Hiddink to be able to take them to Champions League glory with the likes of United, Barcelona and Real Madrid looks like a massive reach.