Really interesting article by Simon Johnson and James Olley of the Evening Standard that Chelsea have contacted Avram Grant about replacing Rafa Benitez after this weekend’s match against West Brom.
The story goes that Chelsea are considering firing Rafa after his outburst yesterday and replacing him with Avram Grant until the end of the season before bringing Jose Mourinho back as manager in the summer.
According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of reappointing the Special One as they weigh up their second change at the top this season. That is interesting news by itself, as many insiders think that Jose Mourinho will end up in Paris next season with PSG and not in London with Chelsea.
With a Champions League place hanging in the balance, Roman Abramovich is said to be ready to turn to Grant, as he did in 2007, to manage the Blues until the end of the season.
The Rafa Benitez experiment at Stamford Bridge has been a disaster since day one. When Rafa was hired he was told that the priority was to qualify for next season’s Champions League. But the team have won just three of their last eight League games and have dropped below Tottenham to fourth in the table, while Arsenal are now just two points behind.
To make matters worse, the club failed to win the Fifa Club World Cup and were beaten by Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
Benitez has the second worst winning percentage of any Chelsea coach in the Abramovich era at just 52%, with only Andre Villas-Boas, who was sacked almost exactly 12 months ago, below him on 48%.
His record is worse than Di Matteo, who had a 62% win rate, while Chelsea were just four points behind the Premier League leaders (Manchester City) when the Italian departed and trail Manchester United by 19 now.
While Chelsea get prepared to throw Rafa under the bus, he has not been helped by Chelsea’s director of football Michael Emenalo. Rafa is upset by with composition of the Chelsea squad and in January he wanted to sign Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano, and bring back Romelu Lukaku and Nathaniel Chalobah from loan spells at West Brom and Watford respectively. But Emenalo vetoed that.