Over the last 24 hours, two key pieces of news have surfaced, one we know to be true, and one that I’m suspecting has more truth in it than not.
The CAS were asked for a statement on whether Chelsea had appealed to them to have the ban frozen, and they confirmed that no such appeal had been placed. Couple that news with numerous outlets reporting that Sarri is the favourite for the Juventus job, whilst Chelsea are looking to replace him with Lampard, and you have the perfect storm.
A lot of Chelsea fans are understandably angry, but I’m going to attempt to restore some order and look at what’s really going on.
Currently Chelsea have not appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have their ban frozen, and I’ve seen plenty of tweets condemning that decision from the board. It’s certainly frustrating, especially as it adds to the uncertainty around the club.
Now, I believe that the situation with the ban is directly linked to who the Chelsea manager will be next season. It seems as though the board have decided that they’ll not stand in Sarri’s way if he wants to go to Juventus, which is crucial. However, I don’t think Chelsea will sack Maurizio Sarri. He’s finished third in the league and got to two cup finals, more than what was set out at the start of the season for him to achieve. If they sack him now, they risk the real possibility of no top manager wanting to come to Stamford Bridge. They’d be setting a dangerous level of expectation for any new appointment. Letting him walk out into a new job is the only way that Sarri will leave Chelsea in my opinion.
Reports are also stating that the final decision on Sarri’s future won’t be made until after the final, which is where this delay of asking for the appeal comes in. The board know, or at least I hope they know, that Sarri needs huge financial investment to make this work, similar to Guardiola in the summer of 2017 at Manchester City.
The transfer window has already opened, and clubs are beginning to make signings and begin talks for new players. As it stands Chelsea can’t do that, but the decision over Sarri’s future is still too uncertain for Chelsea to know what to do.
I think that Chelsea are beginning to think that even if they get the ban frozen, they would have lost the first month of the window at least, and it would be very difficult to get in the players that they need, hence why no decision has been made over Sarri, a man who’s success would have to come from investment in the market.
This leads me to think that Chelsea have come up with two ways of moving forward.
- Keep Maurizio Sarri as manager and appeal to have the ban frozen, allowing us to make moves to improve his squad, albeit with a much shorter window compared to other clubs.
- Hire Frank Lampard. Let Sarri walk into a new job in Italy and don’t appeal the ban, allowing Lampard to work with what we have, help to blood through the youth and then go again in 2020/21.
With all the reports going round of Lampard to Chelsea, and having not appealed the ban, it makes me believe that the club are leaning more towards option 2. I think they’re prepared to let Sarri go and head in a new direction with Lampard.
Whether that’s the right decision or not is another question, but that’s what I’ve pulled together from the numerous reports. Nothing is decided yet in terms of next season’s manager and the appeal to the CAS, but don’t be surprised to see Frank Lampard at the Bridge next season, working with what he’s given.