Chelsea are interested in appointing distinguished manager Zinedine Zidane to replace Graham Potter in the dugout after a dreadful campaign that has left the club shrouded in midtable mediocrity.
Having sacked Thomas Tuchel in the early stages of the campaign, a decision which “baffled” many supporters, the Blues have failed to turn a corner under the tutelage of Potter, and have fallen in both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup and trail Borussia Dortmund after the first leg of their Champions League knockout tie.
Also mired in tenth in the Premier League, the Telegraph’s Matt Law has recently reported that owner Todd Boehly is at his wit’s end with the former Brighton & Hove Albion leader, who has just two games to save his tenure following just two victories from the past 15 attempts.
Consequently, a host of managerial names have circulated, with Real Madrid icon Zidane earmarked as the optimum replacement, according to reports from Spain.
The French legend resigned from his post in 2021, and has been out of work ever since; distinguished and decorated, Zidane could reinvigorate the ranks and rekindle the winning mentality that has slipped from its once embedded place at the heart of Stamford Bridge.
Would Enzo Fernandez flourish under Zidane?
Zidane, Ballon d’Or and World Cup winner in his playing career, has only held the reins at Real Madrid during his coaching career, but he has enjoyed glorious success during his two tenures at the eminent outfit.
Over his two spells, he has recorded point-per-match (PPM) averages of 2.30 and 2.04, respectively, winning three Champions League trophies, two La Liga titles and the World’s Best Club Coach on successive occasions.
Zidane’s man-management skills could come in handy to reinvigorate the withered crop at Chelsea, with Cristiano Ronaldo even lauding his former boss in a documentary on RMC Sport (via FOTMOB), saying that he “managed the group very intelligently”, and that “he did a very smart job, involved all the players and it was very beneficial.”
Should he arrive in west London, Zidane could channel the abundant potential of £107m winter signing and World Cup champion Enzo Fernandez, who has started well under Potter despite the outfit’s woes.
Would Fernandez reach his full potential under Zidane?
As per Sofascore, the “unreal” 22-year-old Argentine, as dubbed by Statman Dave, has chalked an admirable average league rating of 7.33 thus far, registering an assist, completing 89% of his passes and making 3.8 tackles per outing, and this robust, slick nature could leave Zidane creating his next Luka Modric, should he arrive at Stamford Bridge.
Modric played 202 games under the “phenomenal” – as dubbed by Rio Ferdinand – French leader, playing a starring role in the triad of Champions League triumphs and two league titles, indeed monumentally winning the 2018 Ballon d’Or following Zidane’s first managerial spell.
As per FBref, the “beast “- as hailed by reporter Ives Galarcep – that is Fernandez ranks among the top 1% of midfielders across Men’s Next 8 – the divisions below the established ‘big five’ – for progressive passes and passes attempted per 90, also within the top 10% for shot-creating chances and 5% for rate of assists per 90, which illustrates the sheer scope of his ball-playing skill set.
And with Modric ranking among the top 1% of midfielders throughout Europe’s big five leagues for assists, 4% for progressive passes and 10% for shot-creating actions, arresting parallels can indeed be drawn between the respective gems.
Considering the 5 foot 10 Fernandez’s brilliant feats at such an early stage in his professional career, and Zidane’s experience in successfully utilising the supreme talents of the likes of midfield maestros such as Modric, an acquisition for the 50-year-old could prove to be a match made in heaven for Boehly and co.
The 2022 World Cup Best Young Player winner could use his glinted bedrock to nurture his skills under Zidane’s wing, and perhaps even emulate the magnitude of Modric’s illustrious career.