Chelsea secured a Champions League place for next season with a 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday. The Blues will now compete in the Champions League after missing out on qualification for the tournament 12 months ago.
But will manager Maurizio Sarri still be at the helm of Chelsea to lead them into the competition? Reports had indicated Sarri was on the way out of Stamford Bridge, but after Sunday’s win, the manager proved he deserves to remain in the position.
Not only has Sarri led Chelsea back to the Champions League, but the Blues are one step away from the Europa League Final. What was a nightmare season just a week ago is turning into a possible rebirth under the Italian.
A season under Sarri
Life under Sarri started out sterling for the Blues. He had been highly sought after by Chelsea’s hierarchy and when appointed as manager, Sarri exceeded expectations.
Chelsea went undefeated in their opening 12 games of the league season. They didn’t taste defeat until late November when Tottenham Hotspur ended their undefeated run, 3-1.
Three losses in a span of four league games from January 19th to February 10th was the low point for Chelsea, and the doom and gloom set in. A 6-0 loss to Manchester City was topped off by a humiliating League Cup loss to the Cityzens. That loss came on penalties, and despite the Blues’ solid performance, the final will be forever remembered for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refusing to come off the pitch when subbed off by Sarri.
Does Sarri have a future at Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea can still lift the Europa League trophy under Sarri. The Blues will take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semifinal second leg on Thursday night. Sarri’s team lead the tie thanks to away goals. If Sarri can win the Europa League, it will be just the sixth time Chelsea have won a continental cup.
Sarri has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge as reports claim he doesn’t like the lack of decision making he has at the club. The manager has delivered results and taken the club back to the Champions League. But will he get more say at Chelsea?
The Blues could be banned from making new transfers this summer and a difficult season could ensue. Losing Sarri would be a double blow along with being unable to add new players. The club is set to bring many of the players they have out on loan back for preseason training.
If the Blues are not able to sign new players, they could resemble a bit of a patchwork team. It will be incredibly difficult to compete in the Champions League with a group of players that were not first-choice to begin with.
Who will lead Chelsea?
Sarri may not be the only individual to leave Chelsea in the offseason. According to sources close to owner Roman Abramovich, he is interested in selling the football club. Sir Jim Radcliffe, the richest man in England, has made inquiries about buying the club, but has so far balked at the asking price.
Abramovich could still sell the club. If there is indecision over selling the Blues, it could affect their summer transfer business – if they are not banned from signing players.
Sarri has done well this season and doesn’t deserve to be let go. The move is ultimately Chelsea’s to make, but it seems silly they would sack Sarri after being so hell bent on signing him less than 12 months ago.