Guus Hiddink may be Chelsea’s caretaker manager again


Managerial history may be repeating itself with Guus Hiddink at Chelsea

Guus Hiddink was a caretaker manager for Roman Abramovich at Chelsea after Luiz Felipe Scolari was fired in February of 2009. It seems that history may be about to repeat itself in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho’s firing today.

When you’e looking for Chelsea managerial news, you might not expect the Australian National Team Twitter account to be a source. Perhaps we should acknowledge that it’s time to expect the unexpected. The official twitter account @Socceroos has let the news slip that its former manager, Guus Hiddink, will be taking over at Chelsea.

Hiddink certainly has the CV to be the new manager at Chelsea, but I’m tempted to think that he will be reprising his role as Abramovich’s caretaker. The former Real Madrid, Australia and Chelsea (among others) is not exactly a youthful figure. He’s already 69-years-old and I just can’t see Chelsea committing its future to someone that advanced in age. I could, however, see them tapping Hiddink in an interim role for the second time in his career.

Back in 2009 it worked out pretty well for Chelsea. Hiddink took over and Chelsea immediately went on an absolute tear. He piloted the club to an FA Cup title and saw them advance to the semifinals of Champions League competition. Many fans were very much in favor of handing him the permanent role then, so they should be overjoyed to see him come to town again in a caretaker capacity.

The move makes sense for Abramovich on many levels. Hiddink has proven he can take over for a big-name manager and turn things around quickly which is certainly needed in the wake of Mourinho. Furthermore, hiring him on an interim basis gives Abramovich more time to chase the truly big fish that are out there in the managerial pool. He can be much more deliberate in his decision making and will have time to woo the candidate(s) of his choice.

It isn’t difficult to guess who some of those big-name candidates might be. Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti figure to be two of the highest-profile candidates for the position. However, don’t count out a name from left field from Abramovich either. He’s shown in the past that he places a high premium on managers he has some sort of relationship with. That’s part of the reason we are about to see Hiddink’s second stint at the club as well.

Some might criticize Chelsea for failing to choose a new direction right now, but I actually applaud them for buying themselves more time. They can use Hiddink’s time at the club to gather more information both about what they have at the club, and also what they need to be successful in the future. Bringing in Guus Hiddink is a smart bridge for Chelsea as the search for the long-term leader at Stamford Bridge.