Jorge Sampaoli is not the right manager for Chelsea
News this week that Jorge Sampaoli had resigned as the national coach of Chile raised scarcely a blip on the radar of Chelsea supporters until British bookmakers installed the 55-year old Argentine as favourite to be in charge at Stamford Bridge by the time next season gets underway.
Having seen Jose Mourinho, the most successful coach in the club history, sacked, many Blues fans could be forgiven for thinking owner Roman Abramovich is now clutching at managerial straws as he bids to replace the Special One.
Set to be thwarted in his pursuit of long-term target Pep Guardiola, who seems destined for Manchester City, Abramovich could also miss out on Diego Simeone who, beyond personal financial gain has little incentive to leave Atletico Madrid.
The Chelsea owner also faces the reality of being abandoned by interim boss Guus Hiddink at the end of the season. Irrespective of whether or not he brings any silverware to the Bridge, the 69-year old Dutchman has already stated he will quit Chelsea in the summer.
Sampaoli has never managed outside his native South America but saw his stock rise as Chile coach. His crowning achievement came when, on home soil, they won Copa America, a feat which earned the 55-year-old a nomination for the 2015 FIFA World Coach of the Year award which was ultimately won by Barcelona boss Luis Enrique.
Sampaoli's club resume is intriguing. After a serious leg injury ended his playing career at the age of 19, he coached 11 clubs in his native Argentina, as well as Peru, Ecuador and Chile. His only tangible success came in his final role when he led Santiago-based team Universidad to domestic league glory and also won the 2011 Copa Sudamericana.
Employing a similar dynamic, heavy pressing style of football to that which is favoured by fellow Argentine and revered former Chile national team coach Marcelo Bielsa, Sampaoli's success saw Swansea show interest in hiring him at the turn of the year following the sacking of Garry Monk.
Swans chairman Huw Jenkins, who also spoke to Bielsa, eventually opted for the Italian Francesco Guidolin. Meanwhile, Sampaoli is available after an acrimonious dispute with the Chilean FA was settled. Too late for Swansea, but could the Welsh club's loss be Chelsea's gain? With no disrespect to Sampaoli, his sudden candidature bears the hallmarks of a panic appointment.
Comparisons will be made between Sampaoli and another coach from South America, Luiz Felipe Scolari. A World Cup winner while in charge of Brazil, he also enjoyed a modicum of success with Portugal before being hired -- and quickly fired -- during the 2008-09 season.
Scolari was dismissed by Abramovich, who was able to parachute in Hiddink to salvage Chelsea's campaign with FA Cup success. However, while the subsequent appointment of a world-class coach in Carlo Ancelotti was certainly well thought out, the Italian's ridiculous dismissal in 2011, a year after he masterminded a league and cup double triumph, set the tone for a procession of managers.
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Trophies may have been won along the way, but the manner in which Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho have come and gone has tarnished Chelsea's appeal as an employer.
Given that and the scenarios with Guardiola and Simeone, in an ideal world Abramovich should find a way to retain the services of Hiddink, who knows the club inside out, while a well-planned successor is found to the serial winner Mourinho.
As Manchester United are finding in their trophy-less travails since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, poor succession planning can have dire consequences at clubs where expectations are stratospherically high.
There is a famous old saying in life that "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it". Maybe Abramovich and Chelsea should pay heed before ground that is currently being lost becomes irretrievable.
Mark Worrall is one of ESPN FC's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @gate17marco