Zico The New Favourite For Chelsea Job?

Zico has parted company with Fenerbahce and surprise, surprise, within seconds of the announcement was linked with the vacant Chelsea job. Despite recent reports suggesting Scolari is almost certain to seat himself at the empty manager’s desk after Euro 2008, Zico is now odds-on to beat him to it. But given that we’ve had more dead certs in the press lately than Kenyon’s had dodgy deals, just how much truth is there in this latest one?

So far, as with most of the potential managers linked with us in the press, there’s been no direct quotes from either Chelsea or Zico himself, so it could simply be another case of 2+2=5.  But is there a little more to it than that? He has been linked to us in the past and it appears he decided to end his 2-year  tenure at the Turkish club before contract negotiations had really got underway, so has he been distracted by a proposition elsewhere? Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on his part having been linked to the vacant City post shortly before Hughes’ appointment?

And bearing in mind he didn’t have enough in his locker to deal with us in the Champions League last season, could he actually do a job for us?


Zico – the player

As a player, Zico was often called the ‘White Pele’. Widely thought of as one of the most skilled dribblers and finishers ever. An absolute master of the free-kick, with the ability to bend it better than Beckam, Zico was considered by Pele as one of the best footballers ever, with the Brazilian saying of him “throughout the years, the one player that came closest to me was Zico”.


Zico – the manager

Zico started out with a bit of a difficult time replacing Phillipe Troussier for Japan after the 2002 FIFA World Cup, getting off to a bad start with a 4-1 defeat to Argentina in 2003. He did ok in the Confederations Cup but struggled against Oman in the first stage of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup and a drinking incident seeing several players suspended, didn’t help his cause. However, despite demonstrations demanding his sacking, Zico stayed on, winning the 2004 Asian Cup and securing qualification for the 2006 World Cup with just one defeat. Zico attempted to instil a free-flowing, attacking mentality into the Japan side, urging his players to express themselves freely on the pitch and although heavily influenced by Brazil’s short passing style, he was flexible enough to switch between 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 formations. Notably, he’s also said to command respect from the media.

Zico joined Fenerbahce in July 2006 on a two-year deal, winning the league title in 2007 and the Turkish Super Cup in his first year in the job. Under Zico, Fenerbahce have qualified from the Champions League group stages for the first time in the club’s history, beating Sevilla to make it to the quarter finals where they lost – to us.


No Milan Move For Shevchenko

Our dealings with AC Milan lately, far from resembling the million pound dealings of businessmen, are starting to resemble playground squabbles. And as the bickering over Ancelotti continues to simmer just below the surface, it seems we’ve found something else to fall out over with AC wanting both Drogba and Shevchenko, and Chelsea refusing to barter.

Whilst we’ve agreed to let Drogba go to the San Siro in principle, it appears Milan are doing their best to bleed us dry where money’s concerned again. Sources within Milan suggested yesterday the two clubs had agreed a fee. However, with the suggestion being a £10million down payment, rising to £18million over three years, it’s hardly surprising Chelsea’s reaction to this wasn’t one of ecstatic confirmation. Chelsea paid nearly £24million for the Ivorian and with three years remaining on his contract have put a £30million price on his head. Now that might seem fair enough to most of us, but we all know Milan like to screw as much out of us as possible, so maybe it’s no bad thing to see us digging our heels in for a change.

And that certainly seems to be the case as far as a deal over Shevchenko’s move is concerned. He may well have been linked to a move back to Milan virtually since he got to Chelsea but the chances of that happening now are looking less likely than ever, with Chelsea apparently putting a block on any possible sale. Having crowed about negotiations ongoing with Drogba, of Sheva, Galliani has said “Unfortunately, the response we feared came for Shevchenko. Chelsea consider Andriy unsellable. This epilogue makes us very sad.”

But is it a case of Chelsea really saying that or is it more a case of us telling Milan they’re not getting him back as a freebie? You see, whilst they were only too happy to charge us £30million in the first place, Milan don’t actually want to pay to have him back. Instead, Galliani has proposed no transfer fee, although he’s very generously suggested Milan would take him on loan and pay a bit towards his £130,000 a week wages. I just bet they would!

And this from a club who have always had a very ‘special relationship’ with Shevchenko? The supporters adored him during his time there and it’s well known his close friendship with Berlusconi has seen the owner end up godfather to his eldest son and yet they’ll use words like “unsellable” when talking about him publicly? But so far, Galliani’s the only one to have come out with this statement, not Chelsea, so maybe it’s actually a case of Chelsea valuing Shevchenko a lot more than AC do these days?

Sidwell Refusing To Leave Chelsea?

While the papers continue to debate the next Chelsea manager they’re still finding a few column inches for most of our players along the way. One of the latest players to get the benefit of the media’s attention is Steve Sidwell. According to yesterday’s press our 25 year-old midfielder is after a £3million pay-off before he’ll consider letting us sell him.

Now whilst there doesn’t seem to be much substance to this story yet, it’s not totally inconceivable either, with his agent saying “His situation is he’s under contract to Chelsea for another three years and Steven is happy to fight for his place.” But given Sidwell’s about as likely to get a regular place at Chelsea as Liverpool are to win the title next season, it’s a fair bet he’d be spending the remainder of his time at Chelsea in the reserves. Not the smartest decision a player could make but then it wouldn’t be the first time. Winston Bogarde ring any bells?

The thing is, if there is any truth in these rumours, then I’d have to suggest Sidwell gets a bit of perspective. He was only signed from Reading last summer for two reasons, the first one being that he was on a free and the second one that Mourinho’s skills as a manager generally lay outside of the transfer market. I know Jose explained this particular acquisition away with the “cover for ACON” line, but it still left most of us scratching our heads. And as for his £50,000 a week salary, Sidwell has our ridiculous wage structure to thank for that and should be grateful he’s earnt it for a year of doing nothing.

Call me naive, but I’d have thought that with clubs like Villa, City, Boro, West Ham, Fulham, Sunderland, Newcastle, Blackburn and even Everton expressing an interest in signing him, Sidwell would be happy to get himself back into playing regular first team football. And yet we’re being told he’s got it in his head it might be worth hanging around to see if our new manager can see something we all missed in the 7 league games he played for us last season.

Surely he realises this sort of stance, aside from putting off potential buyers, will lead to a regular place – in our reserves? And if he does realise this, then what does that say about him as a player? Whilst I appreciate players don’t want to lose potential earnings, he was incredibly lucky to get that sort of contract in the first place, it certainly wasn’t realistic. Does the game really mean so little to him that he’s prepared to turn down regular football at, say, Everton – potential Champions League place challengers next season – because he’d be happier earning £50,000 a week for sod all?

If that’s the case, and the press haven’t blown this one out of the usual proportion, then I’d have to say we should let him rot in the reserves because that’s exactly where this sort of attitude belongs.