Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich should have made Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone an offer he could not refuse to get him to replace interim manager Guus Hiddink this summer.
The Argentine earns around £5.5 million a year at the Vicente Calderon Stadium while the Russian billionaire was reported to be willing to almost double that figure. However, Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo recently confirmed that Simeone is contracted until 2020 and will stay at the club for many years to come.
Chelsea certainly needed a top class manager to replace Jose Mourinho after his sudden and unexpected departure and Italian team manager boss Antonio Conte is a fine choice, but after the ‘Special One’ and his tantrums and tiaras, there is only one person who could properly inherit the Stamford Bridge crown.
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The 45-year-old looks like he has stepped out of the set of the movie Goodfellas, and is certainly is a wise guy when it comes to football management, mounting yet another smash and grab raid on La Liga and the Champions League.
Simeone seems to spend almost as much time being sent to the stands as he does in the technical area, and slapping his assistant manager because he was too slow in organising a substitution makes Mourinho and Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro look like bosom buddies.
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Barcelona may have their ‘tiki-taka’ and Jurgen Klopp may have his ‘gengenpress’ but Simeone has developed a style that can only be described as ‘gangster’ football. Parking the bus with the main striker on the edge of his own penalty area may not please those who desire fancy football over results but the Argentine does not care.
Sam Allardyce said after Atletico’s Champions League semi-final first-leg home victory against Bayern Munich: "The whole team buys into it. You see Fernando Torres on the edge of his own box defending. You never saw that at Liverpool or Chelsea. That's how good the manager is and that's why they are successful. They are successful because they concede fewer goals than everybody else and only need one to win.”
Indeed, Atletico Madrid have the best defence in La Liga by far because Simeone knows that his team gets the same three points for winning 1-0 that others get for winning 8-0.
Atletico narrowly missed a La Liga and Champions League double in 2014 with Sergio Ramos’ injury time equaliser calling security on Rojiblancos’ daylight robbery and enabling Real Madrid to win 4-1 after extra time, so Simeone will surely be seeking to get his hands on some more silverware.
Chelsea have the players; they proved that last season. They just need the right manager to plot a break-in to the Premier League top-four, therefore, Abramovich should have avoided the usual suspects and made Simeone an offer he couldn’t refuse.