The managerial merry-go-round at Stamford Bridge is set for another swing come the summer, with Chelsea’s interim manager Rafa Benitez set to stand down from his post.
A large number of names have been mentioned for the job including Jurgen Klopp, Fabio Capello, and David Moyes, but it’s former manager Jose Mourinho who remains one of the best tips on the football betting markets.
It is unlikely owner Roman Abramovich would turn to a manager he has previously had dealings with and the ongoing difficulties at Malaga could pave the way for the Russian billionaire owner to entice Manuel Pellegrini into his first big job in England.
Pellegrini began his career in his homeland with Universidad de Chile and coached teams across Chile, Ecuador and Argentina over a period of 15 years. During his time in South America, Pellegrini won the Copa Interamericana title with Universidad Catolica and saw Primera Division glory in Argentina with both San Lorenzo and River Plate.
It was 2003 which finally saw Pellegrini make the move into European management, with a switch to Spanish side Villarreal. Pellegrini led the Yellow Submarines to second and third placed finishes in La Liga as well as the semi-finals of the Champions League.
After five years with Villarreal, Real Madrid came knocking and despite overseeing the arrivals of Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso to the Bernabeu, Real Madrid failed to win any trophies during Pellegrini’s solitary campaign in charge, despite picking up a club record 96 points in La Liga.
Since then Pellegrini has led the revolution in Andalusia, with Malaga. Rich benefactors originally kicked off Pellegrini’s time in charge by injecting significant funds into the playing staff, but it was the man management of Pellegrini that galvanised the La Rosaleda club to fourth place in La Liga in 2011-12.
Financial irregularities have halted the fairy tale in southern Spain, with the club having to sell the likes of Santi Cazorla, Salomon Rondon and Nacho Monreal in order to balance the club’s books.
Pellegrini has been particularly astute with the limited finances he has had at his disposal and despite all the turmoil off the pitch, the highly-rated manager has steadied the ship and ledMalaga to success on two fronts this season.
The club’s debut Champions League campaign saw the Andalusian side reach the knockout stages of the competition, whilst Malaga’s domestic standing of fourth in La Liga is not to be underestimated.
Pellegrini’s teams have been notorious for their attacking outlook the 4-2-2-2 formation is a favourite of the Chilean manager, a system that could work well at Chelsea given the riches in attacking midfield.
The pressure of Roman Abramovich as owner is not for every manager, but Pellegrini’s experience and success in Spain and South America could make the Chilean manager an exciting choice for Chelsea.