The international break is often a precarious period for club managers. Time and time again we see gaffers cast aside at this point in the season, as clubs pull the trigger ahead of the final run of fixtures.
The Premier League manager in most danger of the sack is Maurizio Sarri, as has been the case for the majority of the last few months.
Chelsea’s top dogs met last week to discuss the future of the beleaguered Blues boss who has lost four of his last eight Premier League games, including a record-shattering 6-0 defeat to Man City.
Chelsea, who have been hit by a transfer ban, have subsequently slipped to 6th while they recently missed out on League Cup glory, and were booted out of the FA Cup by Man Utd. On the plus side, they are one of eight clubs that can still win the Europa League.
Admittedly, it does seem unlikely that Sarri will be dispensed off before the end of the season, although another heavy defeat or a quarter-final exit to Slavia Praha, could see the club wield the axe. Even if this occurred, a permanent replacement wouldn’t be made until the summer.
Chelsea were previously linked with Zinedine Zidane, but the Frenchman is now back at Real Madrid, putting an end to this scenario occurring.
Now, the Blues hierarchy have reportedly set their sights set on another manager who currently plies his trade in the Premier League: Nuno Santo.
The Sun reports that the Wolves manager is on Chelsea’s managerial radar, alongside club legend Frank Lampard, manager of Derby County.
Santo has unquestionably been one of the managers of the season. One of Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp will no doubt win the top gaffer gong at the end of the season, depending on who lifts the title, but few would argue if Santo was to receive the accolade given his stunning opening campaign in England’s top-flight.
At the time of writing, Wolves, back in the Promised Land for the first time since 2012, are flying high in 7th place. In their four previous appearances in the Premier League they’ve never finished above 15th; losing their top-flight status in 2004 and 2012. Meanwhile, they are currently four points better off than they were in any of those prior campaigns, and there’s still eight games to go.
Wolves have beaten Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Man Utd (in all competitions) this season, while they also took points off Man City and Arsenal (both draws).
The likes of Raul Jimenez, Matt Doherty, and Diogo Jota - to name a few - have all excelled in their debut Premier League campaigns, while the Midlands club have an FA Cup semi-final against Watford to look forward to after stunning Chelsea’s conquerors Man Utd in the last-eight.
Santo’s reputation has subsequently soared and he’s deservedly been showered in praise from all angles, however, for Wolves there could be a downside to this, as the vultures could come circling Molineux in the summer.
If Chelsea, who have dropped four points to Santo’s side, were to sack Sarri it would come as no surprise to see the club approach Wolves for the services of their manager. Especially given that Zidane is now taken, whereas Max Allegri (Juventus) and Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) are unlikely to leave their respective clubs, although a Jose Mourinho third spell makes for an interesting discussion.
Another option is Lampard, who The Sun reports is also under consideration. But while he would be a popular appointment with many fans, it is worth remembering that he’s only been a manager since last summer.