According to the Times, Nuno Espirito Santo has been named as an alternative to Frank Lampard, should the club fail to land the former legend.
Espirito Santo enjoyed a successful debut season in the Premier League at Wolves last season, finishing in 7th position and qualifying for the Europa League, while also reaching the FA Cup semi-final. However, the question remains, would he be successful if appointed Chelsea manager?
The answer is quite clearly no.
Santo has enjoyed much success at The Molineux Stadium, however, the majority of his success can be put down to sensational recruitment at Wolves. Espirito Santo will struggle massively at Stamford Bridge should Chelsea choose to go for the Portuguese ahead of former star Frank Lampard.
As you all know Chelsea are currently in the midst of a two-window ban in the transfer market. Even though Espirito Santo will inherit a Chelsea squad with numerous experienced players, the squad still requires a mass overhaul, especially with last season’s underperformances. While Chelsea did finish third, they were battered on the road away to Bournemouth, and at four of the five clubs in the top six of the Premier League. Chelsea’s record away to clubs in the top six was shocking as the club conceded 13 goals and scored just one. Their third-place finish can be put down to the inability of the two North London club Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to end the season well. Arsenal ended the season with one in five, while Tottenham ended the Premier League campaign with just two wins in six games.
At Wolves Espirito Santo has had it easy so far, signing Ruben Neves, who at the time of signing was Porto’s youngest ever captain in the Champions League and a major talent. Neves has been among a mammoth 13 signings Jorge Mendes has been involved in for Wolves. Mendes has links to several clubs across Europe with Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Monaco and Lille beneficiaries of the 52-year-old’s extraordinary empire. Santo won’t be afforded the same luxuries at Chelsea, where he will have to convince players to join the club himself rather than rely on a football superagent to do the work for him.
There also remains the question marks around Espirito Santo’s style of play and whether the Chelsea fans will like it. Espirito Santo built Wolves from the back forward, establishing a strong backline conceded the joint-fifth least amount of goals in the Premier League. However, Espirito Santo doesn’t really scream possession-based football, and his stats last season prove that. Wolves had a mere 47.4% of ball possession last season, compared to Chelsea’s colossal 60.5%. The stats make for further grim reading for Espirito Santo as his Wolves side had just 78% pass completion last season, while Sarri’s Chelsea had 87%
If Espirito Santo is appointed, Chelsea’s style of play will once again change, and to reverse the style of play once again would be hazardous, as the club already suffered last season after transitioning from Antonio Conte’s football to Sarri’s.