Is he the man to replace “The Special One”?
When it comes to the question of who should be the permanent replacement for “The Special One” Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, the Blues should not look past the manager who has been coined “The Argentinian Mourinho.”
While former Netherlands boss Guus Hiddink is in charge of Chelsea F.C. until the end of the 2016 campaign, owner Roman Abramovich is already on the lookout for the next man to take over for the reigning Premier League champions.
Unless there is a drastic change in form for the 14th place Blues, Hiddink isn’t likely to get rid of the “interim” title before the season’s end.
The first name that came up when Mourinho got the axe in mid-December was that of Diego Simeone. As the current manager of Athletico Madrid in Spain, the 45-year-old Simeone currently sits atop La Liga, besting world-renown clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Reliably informed Diego Simeone is a strong contender to take over at Chelsea long-term.— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) December 17, 2015
Let’s take an in-depth look at what makes Simeone a good fit for the fledgling champions.
He Knows How to Win
Since he took over at Athletico Madrid in 2011, Simeone has been no stranger to success and, even more importantly, trophies. With Simeone as their manager, Los Colchoneros have won the UEFA Europa League (2011-2012), the UEFA Super Cup (2012), the Copa Del Rey (2012-2013), the Supercopa de Espana (2014), and most importantly, La Liga (2013-2014).
For Simeone, that is five trophies in five years with the third biggest club in Spain. Athletico’s 2014 La Liga title win was the first time since 2004 that a team other than Barcelona or Real Madrid claimed the most prestigious title in Spain.
To go along with his team’s success, Simeone has also achieved his own person accolades, being named La Liga’s Manager of the Year in 2013 and 2014.
It cannot be stressed enough by any of La Liga’s managers the difficulty of surpassing the two biggest clubs in Spain, and even the world, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Simeone Would Light a Fire Under Former Players
One of the best pitches that Chelsea can make to Simeone would be the opportunity to reunite with two of his former players, forward Diego Costa and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Both players have underperformed for Chelsea in 2015 and have been in and out with injury.
Both players were arguably in the best form of their careers in their final season at Athletico Madrid in 2014.
Costa scored 36 goals in 52 games for Madrid, his most ever in a season, and a total that led to his 32 million pound transfer to Chelsea that summer.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OM3kPbrzhw
Courtois had a stellar outing in Madrid’s league winning campaign, as he had 20 clean sheets in 37 matches started. For reference, Courtois has only recorded 14 clean sheets in Premier League play in his first year-and-a-half at Chelsea.
There is little doubt that the reconnection of Simeone with Costa and Courtois would have a positive effect on both player’s performances.
But Isn’t Simeone Too Similar to Mourinho?
Simeone is often compared to Mourinho by pundits because of both men’s similarities in their approach to tactical football. Both are very close to their assistants and play an imposing brand of soccer.
Simeone, however, is not Mourinho. If I had to describe it, I would say that Simeone is the healthy medium between Mourinho and fiery Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp. He brings the intensity and energy of Klopp and the tactical fortitude of Mourinho.
The biggest difference between Simeone and Mourinho is in the way that both men communicate. Mourinho is known for his media antics (highlights being his self-appointment of the nickname “The Special One” and his “little horse” comment in 2014), while Simeone is known for communicating well within his team with his players and staff.
Communication is key for whoever is appointed the new Chelsea boss after the debacle that preceded Mourinho’s firing over players potentially not trying on the pitch because they had a poor relationship with the manager.
A New Era
With the end of Mourinho’s second and last stint at Chelsea Football Club, it is official that the club is changing. Chelsea needs a new face and the answer seems to be the manager who knocked them out of the Champions League in 2014.
While financially it may prove difficult for Chelsea to hire Simeone, it is still completely possible. Simeone recently signed a new contract with Athletico Madrid until 2020. Chelsea could also struggle to pay Simeone because they still owe Mourinho millions of pounds from the extension that he signed over the summer.
With Jurgen Klopp’s recent appointment at Liverpool, Diego Simeone is sitting alongside Pep Guardiola as one of the most prestigious managers who hasn’t taken his shot at the Premier League yet. 2016 may be the year that changes.
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