The Hard Tackle takes a look at five potential candidates to replace Frank Lampard, who is set to be sacked as the Chelsea manager.

It has been a roller-coaster of a season for Chelsea, who have experienced all kinds of emotions since the commencement of 2020/21 in September. From being top of the table and getting tipped as title contenders after 10-odd games into the season, the Blues find themselves deep into the mid-table – 10 points off the top of the table.

It has been a difficult past couple of months for Frank Lampard and his team. As concerning as the results have been, it is the performances and the manner in which the losses and the draws have come that must worry Chelsea even more.

Lampard has constantly tinkered with his starting lineup in the Premier League and a lot of it is down to constant changes in systems. Chelsea have utilised their players in a variety of positions and roles and despite this process of trial and error, they seem to still remain unaware of the strengths and best positions of their players.

Lampard’s inability to find his best eleven and a consistent style is of utmost concern as it has been a big factor in Chelsea’s new signings struggling for form. The likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech (largely injured) were expected to elevate Chelsea and help them close the gap to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City this term.

However, halfway into the season, Chelsea’s new stars have failed to settle at Cobham and have endured a difficult period early on in their respective stints at Stamford Bridge. Werner has failed to score in the past eleven league games, while Kai Havertz has played as a number 8 in a much deeper role than what would suit him – only assisting thrice and scoring one league goal this season.

After a rather impressive first season in-charge, where he proved a lot of critics wrong, Lampard was backed in the transfer window by owner, Roman Abramovich, as Chelsea signed six first-team players, spending close to £250 Million.

However, with things not exactly going to plan, Lampard finds himself in a difficult situation and is set to face the axe. Given Abramovich’s long history of sackings, it should not be a surprise if Chelsea come out of this difficult period with a new man in-charge. The Hard Tackle now takes a look at managers that could secure the coveted job of being the Chelsea boss in due time.

Massimiliano Allegri

Could Chelsea take a punt on Allegri? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Could Chelsea take a punt on Allegri? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Massimiliano Allegri is one of the most decorated managers in world football at the moment and the Italian tactician has been out of work since 2019. Allegri has been linked with several clubs in the past year, with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and AS Roma all reportedly interested previously.

There is no doubt about Allegri’s credentials. The Italian is a serial winner who has six Serie A titles to his name, five of which he won consecutively at Juventus. In four out of those five seasons, he also won the Coppa Italia and took Juventus to two UEFA Champions League finals as well.

Allegri has never managed outside Italy, a country that takes pride in its defensive prowess and organisation. The Italian is one of the best pragmatic coaches in the world and one that would even give Jose Mourinho a run for his money. There is no doubt that Chelsea have attained their most success under a pragmatic coach that employs a counter-attacking, well-drilled and organised style of football.

While Allegri would make for an interesting appointment at Stamford Bridge, recent transfer windows and managerial appointments have suggested that Chelsea want to move towards a more positive or attacking style of play and the argument that can be made against Allegri is that he may not be the most suitable fit to Chelsea’s squad.

Ralf Rangnick

Ralf Rangnick, 62, is one of the most low-key members of this list but certainly one of great ability. It has been reported that Chelsea may consider Rangnick as an interim fix until the end of the season and then employ him as a Director of Football at the club.

Chelsea have shown a lot of desire to sign a German coach and Rangnick is one that suits that criteria. The German has made a name for himself by achieving greatness with minimal resources. Rangnick’s most impressive contribution is his work with RB Leipzig, where he played an instrumental role in guiding them from Germany’s fourth division to finishing second in the Bundesliga in just seven seasons.

Rangnick identifies with the famous style of gegenpressing that has influenced many other German coaches as well. If he were to join Chelsea in an interim role, he would be a suitable fit for a very young and fit Chelsea squad.

There is no doubt that Chelsea have the ability to press well with the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount. Rangnick would have the ability to create an organised structure and give the team that required push to finish the season strongly.

In any case, Chelsea could do with the employment of Rangnick, who is bound to elevate the levels of the club in whatever capacity he works in. If they are to let go of Lampard, Rangnick has it in him to galvanise the Blues for the remainder of the season and create a strong platform for whoever comes in the summer – most likely to be a German coach as well.

Luis Enrique

A name that has long been linked with Chelsea has risen from the dust once again. Luis Enrique is currently employed with the Spanish national team and it is safe to say that he is doing a rather good job after the sensational 6-0 rout of Germany.

Enrique announced himself to the managerial world with his work at Barcelona. It was under him that Barcelona reattained the heights of the Pep Guardiola era. The Catalans won a historic treble in the 2014/15 season with the Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar the key to their success.

Enrique’s style of play embodies the famous Spanish tiki-taka, one that aligns with the brand of football that Chelsea want to play. However, as good as this appointment sounds on paper, there are a lot of logistical barriers in this deal.

It is unlikely that Enrique would be interested in a move away from the national team, especially with the European Championship right around the corner. Moreover, the last time a Spanish national team coach came in contact with a club and agreed to a deal, it did not end well for both the coach and the country.

Thomas Tuchel

Tuchel has been out of a job since Christmas time and is one of those German tacticians that Chelsea have been interested in for a long time now. Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia has a personal liking for Tuchel and it has been reported that he is the favourite to replace Lampard.

Tuchel has worked at big clubs like Borussia Dortmund and PSG and has won several trophies in the past. He has the experience of managing big personalities from his time at PSG and he is also credited for the rise of young players like Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic, who he could be reunited with at Chelsea. His history spells a promising future for Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has shown flashes of brilliance throughout this season.

Tuchel can set his team up in a 4-3-3 or even a 4-2-2-2 system. Chelsea have the personnel to fit both systems and also the athleticism to meet the demands of Tuchel’s pressing style. In Tuchel’s 4-2-2-2, he could not only get the best out of Timo Werner but also Kai Havertz who could play alongside his German fellow in a front two or as a right-forward.

Tuchel is placed high on Chelsea’s list and should Lampard fail to turn Chelsea’s fortunes around in the next couple of weeks, the German tactician could very well take his place.

Julian Nagelsmann

Julian Nagelsmann is one of the youngest in the business but also arguably the hottest commodity in the world of football managers. The young German broke through when he started working as the head coach of Hoffenheim. The youngest Bundesliga manager to reach the 100 game milestone, Nagelsmann made relegation-threatened Hoffenheim a Champions League club in a matter of just a season.

Following his impressive work at Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig swooped in for the tactician and have since been a part of entertaining title races with Bayern Munich and Dortmund. Leipzig even reached the Champions League semi-finals in the 2019/20 season. Nagelsmann has proven to be an immense tactician and has also demonstrated flexibility in shape. He will also be able to get the best out of Timo Werner as we saw in their Leipzig days.

With the influx of young German talent at Chelsea in the previous transfer window, the Blues could be a desirable destination for Nagelsmann. He will have a talented squad and also a very good shot at winning trophies, something he has not been able to do in his career so far. A winning culture is arguably one of the few reasons why some may prefer Tuchel over Nagelsmann, even though Nagelsmann’s ability remains indubitable.

A very popular figure in world football at the moment, Nagelsmann would be a great appointment by the Chelsea board to begin a long-term project for which the pieces of the puzzle are arguably already present at the club.

However, should Nagelsmann be the one to put those pieces together, Chelsea may have to see out the current season with Lampard or hire an interim manager and go for the German in the summer. Nagelsmann is currently at Leipzig and is unlikely to shift projects mid-season. An interesting next few months beckon.

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