DEAD MAN WALKING II

Has Di Matteo been trapped into a loveless marriage by Chelsea?

The jobs have dried up leaving Italian with little choice but to stay

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If The Spoiler looked good enough in a suit to sample Roberto Di Matteo’s shoes, we’d have darted from Stamford Bridge a fortnight or so after the Champions League final when they still couldn’t decide whether or not he was worthy of remaining in charge.

The Swi-talian’s loyalty to the club – or possibly just confidence that, with Pep Guardiola having a year-long snooze, Roman Abramovich wouldn’t identify a superior candidate – led him to linger by the phone rather than snoop at the job listings, and it would appear that the call has finally come.

However, the sheet of A4 being faxed to him reportedly mentions only a one-year stay, conveniently designed to culminate at the exact point in which Guardiola sashays back into the managerial arena.

And it’s not like Di Matteo has much muscle for negotiating the deal, because his willingness to wait has seen the vacancies at sides like Liverpool and Lazio filled and left him with nowhere else to go with the requisite glitz to house a Champions League winner.

So the only options are to box up his FA Cup and Champions League medals and return to the dole queue or accept a fleeting spell “in charge” of a pre-built squad in which he is under orders to make Fernando Torres feel nice and special.

Cup success won’t save him this time, as AVB’s fall revealed that if you aren’t soaring domestically, you don’t get a chance to engineer a trophy charge. So perhaps the sole way to survive is by winning the Premier League, and even that might not suffice if enough imaginary style points aren’t scooped.

Odds of 5/1 on Chelsea topping the table leave us fearful that Di Matteo will succeed Claudio Ranieri in the role that he described as “dead man walking”.

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