Zinedine Zidane speculation addressed as pressure eases after win over Leeds
Former Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit has addressed reports the Blues are planning a move to appoint Zinedine Zidane to replace the under-fire manager Graham Potter.
The 47-year-old Englishman has proved a hugely unpopular appointment by Blues fans after following in the footsteps of Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel.
While co-owner Todd Boehly remains determined to give Potter more time, reports claim there are sections of the Blues board who want Potter axed.
To that end, Chelsea went into Saturday’s home game against Leeds and needed a big result. And they took three points, with Wesley Fofana scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win.
Despite this, pressure is still building on Potter’s shoulders. And he’ll also need a positive result when Chelsea take on Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. The Blues go into the second leg at Stamford Bridge 1-0 down against the Bundesliga leaders. And anything but a win will see the Blues eliminated in the first knockout round.
Her elimination from the Champions League could make Potter’s job untenable.
With Chelsea struggling in midfield, a return to Europe’s elite competition for next season now seems out of reach.
To that end, speculation is mounting that Chelsea could be approaching one of several potential substitutes.
Mauricio Pochettino is one such person under consideration, while talks of a third stint at Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho are also circulating.
However, a new name entered the race this week in the form of a highly rated Premier League manager.
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Zinedine Zidane’s chances at Chelsea dismissed
One name constantly associated with Chelsea is Zidane. The French legend has been out of work since retiring from Real Madrid in the summer of 2021 and is reportedly keen to return to management.
And despite being closely linked with both PSG and the France national team, Chelsea’s name has been mentioned lately.
Earlier this year, Zidane was shy when asked about a possible return to the dugout.
“Can I still get involved as a coach? Yes, many things, or at least I think some.
“I want to continue this career because I still have the desire – it’s my passion. I’m 50 years old, fulfilled, happy – that’s the most important thing.”
Having guided Los Blancos to three consecutive Champions League crowns, it’s easy to see why he’s a sought-after man.
However, his former France team-mate insists Zidane won’t join Stamford Bridge.
“I could be wrong but I don’t believe for a second the rumor that Zizou is going to Chelsea,” he said RMC Sports.
“Zidane’s future is not in England, it is elsewhere. Zidane has openly said he prefers a more polished and technical game. He doesn’t speak English, although I think he takes classes. But a dressing room today is populated by multiple nationalities.
‘Boehly a problem for Zidane’
“He knows his way of running a dressing room, likes closeness and is interested in people in front of the player. And that’s why you have to be able to communicate and speak the language.
“In England, like in France, many coaches were mocked in press conferences for not speaking the language. That creates a gap in understanding after a while.”
Petit insists Zidane is not tempted by the Blues despite the lavish sums Chelsea can spend.
He also considers the leadership of co-owner Boehly to be problematic.
Petit added: “Why reject Chelsea? Because if you look at the problem today, it’s Potter having to manage 30+ players training at some sort of summer camp.
“Chelsea had the means but today Financial Fair Play are considering changing their rules because of them so we can assume the club cannot continue at this transfer rate. [Qualifying for] The Champions League will be necessary for them, otherwise they are no longer in financial fair play. So they are condemned as they are 10th in the Premier League and will not win the Champions League this year.”
Petit fired up for Boehly, concluding: ‘It’s Boehly’s decision but he doesn’t know anything about football. If he just wants bling-bling, like he’s been doing for the past six months, there are other managers who know the Premier League a lot better.”
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