Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Hughes is in Chelsea’s sights

Chelsea’s initial discussions aimed at securing a permanent successor to José Mourinho have led them to consider the credentials of Mark Hughes as manager, along with those of more established targets such as Diego Simeone, Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri.

The champions will complete this season with Guus Hiddink in interim charge after Mourinho was sacked in December, just a few months into a four-year contract, with his team’s title defence in tatters. The Dutchman has helped extend the team’s unbeaten run to eight matches but was never viewed as a long-term appointment, leaving Chelsea exploring their options for the summer despite being unsure whether they would be able to offer Champions League football.

Although Simeone, whose intense style of management has drawn comparisons to that of Mourinho, has long been mooted as the preferred candidate, given that the anticipated unavailability of Pep Guardiola, prising the Argentinian away from Atlético Madrid could prove problematic. Simeone, a Europa League and La Liga winner with Atlético, is contracted to 2020 and the club hope their iconic manager will still be in charge to lead them into a new stadium next year, even if they fail to overturn a Fifa transfer embargo set to extend for two windows.

Hughes’s candidacy would constitute something of a surprise despite the relative success he has enjoyed with four clubs – Queens Park Rangers being the exception – over a nine-year spell in club management. The 52-year-old had excelled with Wales before that, and played a significant part in Manchester City’s development under Abu Dhabi United before being sacked in December 2009 and replaced by Roberto Mancini.

The former Chelsea player has overseen impressive progress at Stoke City in recent seasons, taking the club to the Capital One Cup semi-finals as well as implementing a transformation in the team’s style of play, and was rewarded with a contract extension to 2019 last March.

Hughes’s name had been discussed by Chelsea for a potential role as far back as 2007 when Mourinho’s first spell in charge was unravelling, though, with greater and more varied experience, his candidacy would arguably be stronger now despite the lack of silverware accrued on his coaching CV.

Allegri, who led Juventus to a domestic double and the Champions League final last season, is contracted until 2017. Conte guided that club to three consecutive Serie A titles this decade. He is overseeing the Italy national side but is expected to review his position after Euro 2016 and is thought to be attracted by the idea of coaching in England. – © Guardian News & Media

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

The Democratic Alliance and illiberal liberalism’s glass ceiling

The DA appears to have abandoned its ambitions of 2016 and is set to lose further ground in the upcoming elections

Canna-business deal for Ingonyama Trust land

Foreign investment has been lined up for a joint venture with the Ingonyama Trust Board, which administers tribal land for the Zulu monarch

More top stories

The Democratic Alliance and illiberal liberalism’s glass ceiling

The DA appears to have abandoned its ambitions of 2016 and is set to lose further ground in the upcoming elections

ANC Durban election candidate shot dead while on door-to-door campaign

One other man was shot dead and two others were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds

Rule of law drops globally, including in South Africa

Security and corruption prevents the country from ranking higher on the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for 2021

Slice of life: ‘I can read nine or 10 books...

David van der Westhuizen, a street bookseller based at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts Gallery in Durban, tells Paddy Harper how he survives unemployment

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…