Pictured at the top are Julian Nagelsmann and Ralf Rangnick, then of TSG Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, respectively, and now of RB Leipzig and of pseudo-retirement, respectively, and they are just two of the names who supposedly fit Chelsea’s bill for the club’s next manager if (when?) Frank Lampard’s tenure ends prematurely.
While it’s always good to have a contingency plan in place, it sure sounds like we might be moving beyond just the planning phase at this point. According to The Athletic, who have championed this narrative in increasingly definitive terms over the past few weeks, Chelsea are “keen” on hiring an experienced manager from outside the club should a vacancy open up, and ideally that manager would be German-speaking and have a “clear tactical philosophy”, “vision”, “identity”.
The language preference apparently isn’t (just) because of Werner or Havertz, both of whom speak perfectly good English, but because of the value placed on a tactical education received in the Bundesliga, especially in the School of Rangnick. The legendary O.G. of Gegenpressing influenced a whole generation of young coaches, including the likes of Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, and Julian Nagelsmann.
The latter two are both mentioned in The Athletic’s report this morning — though Tuchel as more of a secondary option thanks to his slightly checkered history of clashing with upper management. Joining young-yet-already-experienced Nagelsmann on the primary list are Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhüttl, another RB Leipzig connection, and Rangnick himself. So if you’re counting, that’s the last four Leipzig managers on our shortlist apparently: Rangnick (2015-16, 2018-19), Hasenhüttl (2016-18), and Nagelsmann (2019-).
How realistic it might be to hire any of these coaches is unclear. Lampard’s certainly under pressure, but his job may not be as much under threat as everyone’s assuming. Or he may be getting the boot right now. No one really knows what’s happening there, I’d surmise.
But when these stories start, we all know what is the most likely outcome — though we might have to make do with an interim option first before any sort of supposedly ideal manager arrives.