Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is Ranieri More Suited to Spurs Than Chelsea?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is Ranieri More Suited to Spurs Than Chelsea?

Article excerpt


CHELSEA and Tottenham will spend the next few months looking for a new manager, but are unlikely to step on each other's toes.

While both clubs are looking for someone to deliver trophies to their success-starved fans they have very different candidates in mind.

Peter Kenyon and Daniel Levy are engaged in a manhunt on an unprecedented scale but it has not begun well. Chelsea suffered a very public setback earlier this week when their top candidate, Sven-Goran Eriksson, rejected Kenyon's advances and chose to extend his contract with England, while Spurs have attracted more runners and riders than tomorrow's Grand National.

Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni remains Tottenham's first choice but he seems poised to follow Eriksson's lead and stay with the national side after the European Championship. In those circumstances, Levy could be looking at an Italian closer to home.

Although Chelsea have not confirmed that Claudio Ranieri will be leaving at the end of the season, the reality is that he has no long-term future at Stamford Bridge.

Despite the controversy caused by those photographs of Sneaky Sven, figures at the club continue to point out Chelsea's lack of goals this season and Ranieri's failure to bring the best out of players such as Hernan Crespo and Joe Cole.

The boardroom view is that although Ranieri has done an impressive job in taking Chelsea to second in the Premiership and the Champions League quarterfinals, another manager could do better.

Apart from Roman Abramovich's understandable desire to appoint his own man, the main reason for Ranieri's impending departure is that he is considered to be the wrong type of manager.

Abramovich wants to fuse the footballing virtues of Real Madrid with the business strength of Manchester United, so is after a hands-on manager who will complete a root-andbranch-transformation of the entire club, in the way Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have done.

Although Abramovich is not the impatient owner that his detractors would have you believe, there are good reasons for him to be in a hurry.

The club is convinced that Chelsea have been given a two- or three-year window of opportunity to establish themselves as the country's top team, by taking advantage of the continuing uncertainty at United over Ferguson's future and a possible takeover bid before Arsenal have moved into the moneymaking machine that is Ashburton Grove.

There is no doubt that Chelsea have the financial clout to capitalise while their rivals are preoccupied, but that only makes it more vital they secure the right man for the job. It is no exaggeration to suggest that the club's next managerial appointment is the most important in their history.

In an ideal world, Chelsea would simply steal the man responsible for Arsenal's current success, but not even Abramovich's billions could convince Wenger to cross the capital. …

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