Gather round, for here are the top Chelsea news stories for today. The main one is about Marcos Alonso who might be on his way out of Stamford Bridge, but we start with the search for a new manager, which may have seen two candidates fall by the wayside.
Carlo Ancelotti, formerly of this parish and a double winner, looks all set to take over the spluttering Italian national team. Ancelotti has been staying in London since he was sacked by Bayern Munich and was mentioned by some outlets as a legitimate option to replace Antonio Conte next season. Meanwhile, closer to home, Arsenal are also on the lookout for a new scapeg… err, manager to take over the reins when Wenger leaves at the end of this season. Our neighbours have narrowed in on Luis Enrique and believe he could be their hero, baby. That leaves Chelsea with a shortlist of Sarri, Jardim, Nagelsmann, Allardyce, Redknapp and Pochettino as the likeliest of all available candidates, in decreasing order of probability.
In more exciting news, i.e. transfer rumours, Marcos Alonso has been rewarded for his form and a place in the PFA Team of the Year with a rumour linking him to Barcelona. Apparently, the Catalans have belatedly realized that even Shakira’s love won’t keep Gerard Pique going till he’s 40 and they might need to replace him soon. This led to Barcelona scientists discovering latent Barcelona DNA in Alonso, which they now seek to activate and bring him home. Chelsea would not want to lose Alonso at this point, considering he is the only one in their team who can take a freekick which does not end up maiming the supporters behind the goal. If Alonso does return to his roots, Chelsea will look to Napoli left-back, Elseid Hysaj as his replacement. And if our past negotiations with Napoli are any indicators, we will end up with anyone but Elseid Hysaj.
In more controversial news, former Belgian national team manager, Marc Wilmots, has accused Courtois Senior of leaking team details to journalists. Seeking to justify his team’s underachievement at Euro 2016, Wilmots claimed that Courtois Senior’s alleged actions gave more time for his opponents to prepare their own teams against Belgium’s tactical setup. One of those opponents in the Euros was Italy, led by Antonio Conte. And although no teams were mentioned, we are quite certain Conte would get on the next Eurostar to Belgium and let Wilmots know what’s what, if ever an accusation was flung toward him. For his part, Courtois Senior has strongly denied the allegations, going so far as to file a defamation suit against Wilmots. Expect a grovelling apology from Marc Wilmots any day now.
And finally, some FA Cup news! Michael Oliver has been chosen to referee the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United. Oliver was last seen backpedalling as a furious Gianluigi Buffon ran up to him, which made the referee look like an amateur matador waving a red rag in the face of a galloping bull. Thankfully, no such shenanigans are expected in a game of such magnitude and prestige, so Oliver should be just fine. It’s not as if there are two combustible characters on the touchline who would love to settle the game through trial by combat, is it? Oh.