Thomas Tuchel is set to be named Chelsea’s new manager, but as a man who has struggled with internal politics at his previous clubs, will he be allowed to succeed in London…?
It’s Thomas Tuchel for Chelsea, then.
Frank Lampard was handed his cards on Monday, and by the time you read this then his replacement may have been confirmed. By all accounts it will be former Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and PSG manager Tuchel, a fine coach who has struggled at clubs with complex internal politics.
What could possibly go wrong?
But what will he bring to the Chelsea job? On The Totally Football Show European edition this week, Julien Laurens and Rafa Honigstein tried to give us an idea.
“He brings a lot of coaching experience,” said Rafa. “This is a guy who worked wonders at Mainz for five years, had two very successful years at Dortmund, culminating in the DFB Pokal win, and a guess a year at PSG is like three at a normal club.
“He comes with a decent CV and also comes with a very well-developed footballing strategy and idea. He can be flexible, but I think there is a lot of depth to what he does, in terms of how he sets up teams, how he changes teams, how he can vary within games. I think he’s going to bring a tactical structure and sophistication to this Chelsea team that should really get more out of them, both collectively and individually.
“I think there’s a reason why he was in such high demand: he’s just seen as someone who just coaches really well.”
Sounds good then. But this was a man who was sacked by PSG five months after he took them to the Champions League final, so on-pitch performance is not the only factor here.
“He did a lot of good things in Paris,” said Julien Laurens, “but he struggled with the political aspect of the club, and you can also argue that it’s quite similar to Chelsea. If he only wanted to coach, like he said at the end of his time in Paris, I’m not sure he’ll be able to do that at Chelsea.
“If you want the Tuchel from Mainz, and maybe a little bit less from Dortmund, I’m not sure that dressing room will allow him to do that. I still think there’s a lot of man management to be done, like in Paris – OK, there’s no Neymar and Mbappe at Chelsea, but there are older players that might not respond in the way he wants them to respond.
“He has a lot of assets that will allow him to succeed in the Premier League, no doubt, this is a very strong squad and I can see him getting the best out of them, but it’s not as simple as that [at Chelsea].
“The issues he had in Paris, I fear he’ll be facing the same at Chelsea.”
Rafa Honigstein added: “He’s not the easiest guy to get on with if you’re his superior, but clearly Chelsea feel that’s a price worth paying.
“A lot will depend on whether he and the club can see eye-to-eye on the more strategic issues, but when it comes to coaching and getting more out of this team than Frank Lampard in the last few weeks, making sure they’ll finish at least top four, I think they have a better chance with Tuchel than with Lampard continuing the season.
“Whether he’ll be another Chelsea great is difficult to say, because it’s not necessarily all down to him, as we know at Chelsea.”
Otherwise, you can listen to the latest edition of the Totally Football Show here, and even better you can subscribe here. If you wish to reproduce any of the material in this article or from the podcast you are very welcome to, but please credit The Totally Football Show and include this link.