Is Roman Abramovich set to team up his former manager with Rafa?
According to a report from the MailOnline, Chelsea’s owner is considering a shock move for former manager Avram Grant to return to Stamford Bridge, amid fears that the appointment of Rafa Benitez was a mistake. That report suggests that Grant would come in as an advisor to Benitez, who has suffered a torrid time in his three games in charge so far, failing to win a game and enduring a fierce backlash from the fans.
The Mail say that Abramovich spoke to senior Chelsea lieutenants about approaching Grant in the wake of the weekend’s 3-1 defeat to London rivals West Ham. He is available, having been out of work since leaving Partizan Belgrade at the end of last season, and he is understood to have a good relationship with Benitez, which is enough to have convinced Abramovich that they could work well together.
The same report says that the Chelsea owner has met with fans and has been told by his advisers that his appointment of Benitez could be a disaster. Abramovich was appalled by the team’s performance in the goalless draw with Man City in Benitez’s first game and he made one of his personal visits to the training ground last Tuesday, reportedly to visit Andriy Shevchenko, who was there to study for his coaching qualifications, but also to to carry out his own investigation before last Wednesday’s game against Fulham, which failed to lift his mood, according to the Mail.
The Mail are also reporting that Abramovich continues to want to bring in Pep Guardiola, and that he will refuse to accept anything less than a top-four finish. He will stop at nothing to make that happen, and is not against the idea of sacking Benitez before the end of his short contract if it is the only way to save the season. Grant would represent the ideal safety net for that eventuality.
Benitez has faced a tough time since replacing the ousted Roberto Di Matteo, with new reports from the Mail that the players have not reacted well to the decision to sack the former West Brom boss, and of communication problems in the camp. According to them, Benitez insists on two separate team-talks, speaking English to the English speakers and Spanish to others, which caused confusion in the dressing room ahead of the West Ham game.
Chelsea’s fans have also reacted badly to the appointment of the Spaniard, telling Abramovich that though they appreciate his backing for the club, they will continue to protest against Benitez, as they did at Upton Park with banners and songs of ‘Roman Abramovich, is this what you want?’ when Chelsea went behind.
What do you think of this news? Should Chelsea bring in Avram Grant to help Rafa? Share your thoughts below.
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This article was first posted on December 3, 2012