Petr Cech to Return to Chelsea as New Sporting Director This Summer

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will return to the club this summer as the club’s new sporting director, Sky Sports News have reported.

The 37-year-old will retire from playing at the end of this season and is set to rejoin the club where he spent 11 years as a player before moving to Arsenal in 2015.

It is not yet known what responsibilities Cech will have at Stamford Bridge as he will be the club’s first appointment in this role, with Chelsea having previously only had a technical director.

Petr Cech

That position has been empty since Michael Emenalo’s resignation in 2017 and it is expected that the Premier League clean sheet record holder will take on a number of the duties that were completed by Emenalo once he begins his new position.

Sky Sports announced the news on their website but there has been no official confirmation from Chelsea, Cech’s current employers Arsenal or the man himself regarding the rumours about his future.

The Blues have made it clear that they intend to bring back members of the club’s ‘golden generation’ such as John Terry and Frank Lampard in the coming years and it appears as though the Czech ‘keeper will be the first member from that era to return to the club in a backroom capacity.

The timing of the news could not be worse for the Gunners with Cech due to play for Unai Emery’s team against Chelsea in the Europa League final on May 29.


Speculation about his goalkeeper’s potential move to their opponents will not please the Spanish coach, who will want everyone fully-focused on the game in Baku.

Arsenal must win if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League while Maurizio Sarri’s side have already secured their spot by finishing third in the league.


Chelsea Ordered to Pay Antonio Conte £9m in Compensation After Sacking in 2018

?Chelsea have been ordered to pay Antonio Conte £9m in compensation fees after the former Blues manager was fired last summer.

Conte was sacked from Chelsea after a turbulent season, which saw the Italian fall out with a number of players and executives at the club. With a year still left to run on his deal at Stamford Bridge, Conte’s lawyers subsequently pleaded the case that he was entitled to be paid for the final year of his deal until he accepted a new job.


Despite arguing that Conte’s behaviour in his final year had put him in breach of his contract, ?The Times are now reporting that Chelsea have lost the case after a Premier League manager’s arbitration tribunal ruled in favour of the manager.

The pay-off means that Chelsea have now forked out more than £90m in compensation fees to sacked managers since Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003. That number could potentially rise further if the club decide to part ways with current manager Maurizio Sarri this summer.

Chelsea could theoretically take the case to the High Court, but the club are said to be unwilling to do so. They will not be challenging the decision of the tribunal, which marks the end of the feud from their perspective.

Antonio Conte

With the legal case now all-but settled, Conte is on the verge of returning to management and has been strongly linked with the top job at ?Juventus and ?Inter.

Juventus have already announced that they will be parting ways with Massimiliano Allegri this summer, while Luciano Spalletti is under increasing pressure at Inter.


Champions League 2012: Remembering Didier Drogba’s Decisive Penalty in Munich

“?Didier Drogba, I’m going to say it now, it is written in the stars.”

Those were the words that Gary Neville, with all the exaggerated cadence of his early broadcasting days, uttered as Didier Drogba strode up to the spot for the fifth and decisive penalty in the 2012 Champions League final. 

And seven years later, it is hard to argue with. In fact, the only point of contention may just be when this incredible fate was set for the Ivorian? When is anyone’s destiny sketched out? Naturally, it’s a hard thing to concretely answer, but I’d hazard a guess that Drogba’s was etched in Moscow at the same stage four years previously. 

Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba

On that occasion, with perhaps a greater side (but not a greater team), Chelsea had faltered on penalties, and Drogba was helpless to stop it, having relinquished his right to take one by petulantly slapping Manchester United centre back Nemanja Vidic in the 116th minute. 

This forced John Terry to take the fifth and decisive penalty inside the Luzhniki Stadium and the rest is, well, a history that we’d rather not linger on. 

But, somewhere in the ashes of that tortuous defeat, a prophecy was born, one that laid out the path of redemption that Drogba would tread over the forthcoming four years. Inevitably – this is football, after all – this journey began with the prospect of a departure. 

Drogba had let the club down, and for that, the club would let him go. This proved to be unfounded, but even with his crucial goal in the following season’s FA Cup triumph, rumours of his exit reverberated even louder around the footballing stratosphere that summer, with his ?’It’s a disgrace’ outburst following the tragic Champions League semi-final loss to Barcelona supposedly the nail in the coffin of his Blues career.

Didier Drogba,Guus Hiddink

Again the rumour mills were found wanting, with Roman Abramovich and co instead opting to reward the striker with an improved three-year deal that would take him through to, yes, the summer of 2012. 

Two further FA Cup final goals and trophies followed, as well as a Premier League title (and Golden Boot), but the Ivorian’s redemptive arc was still not fulfilled.

Indeed, to ramp up the tension before this final reckoning, Chelsea made it clear that Drogba, at 34, would not be handed another contract extension beyond that summer. This was it then.

And this narrative played out in the game – a game that is simultaneously etched into our brains and remarkably fuzzy – even in the stats.  For the most part, it was a whir of ?Bayern shots, 35 to be exact, and Bayern misses – 28 of them were off target. 

At times, it felt like nothing but that air of destiny, of inevitable invincibility, was keeping Chelsea alive. At times it was the sheer willpower of David Luiz and Gary Cahill to thrust themselves in front of every shot they could. And, at times, it was just the left underside of Petr Cech’s torso.

To be honest, it’s hard to remember anything Drogba did that game that wasn’t completely indelible, because, well, there were only three real moments where he took centre stage, and all three came within a few yards of the penalty spot.

First, there was the hope-rescuing header of the 88th minute, which came from Chelsea’s sole corner of the game, compared to Bayern’s 20. Then there was the hope-trashing foul of the 94th minute that gave former teammate Arjen Robben the chance to steal it from the spot.

But even those two fade away – well, actually, that header is still the greatest I’ve ever seen – when compared with that third and final act in Didier Drogba’s final act (well…) as a Chelsea player.

You know the drill. 

Juan Mata misses the first, and the worst is feared. FCB hit their first three and the worst is nigh on confirmed. Frank Lampard then becomes just the second player ever to score in two European final penalty shootouts. Ivica Olic then teases the door back open with a lukewarm effort to his right that is well-saved by Cech, before Ashley Cole becomes just the third player ever to score in two European final penalty shootouts with a souped-up version of Olic’s effort.

Bastian Schweinsteiger then has his hesitant effort finger-tipped onto the post by an outstretched Cech, leaving a certain someone with the pen of his own destiny in his hand, and a different kind of pen required to write it.

All that was needed now was the signature. No, not the signature that would keep him at the club, but the signature that would cement his legendary legacy. The signature that would confirm his life-sentence to the annals of ?Chelsea history.

And so he stepped up to meet his destiny, with Neville reminding him of this fact as he did, and the Bayern fans desperately trying to distract him with their whistles. But then he steadied himself, and the whole world stood still, even those in the hitherto raucous Bayern end behind the goal, and waited for fate to take shape. 

But Drogba didn’t wait. As the whistle blew, he placed his left foot back before careering forward with two purposeful steps, one of which somehow also served as a stagger, before he slotted the ball with untold composure into the left-hand corner of the net, and, in half a second, history was made.

Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba

With parity in mind, it’s perhaps fair to end with the words of Clive Tyldesley from the night’s other broadcast. Because, in an instant, Didier Drogba had delivered…

“The greatest night in Chelsea’s history. Champions of Europe at last. Champions League winners, the hard way. They’ve beaten Bayern in their own backyard, and at their own game: penalties.”


Tiemoue Bakayoko Set to Return to Chelsea as Milan Refuse to Meet Valuation

Tiemoue Bakayoko looks set to return to Chelsea due to loan club Milan’s unwillingness to pay £35m to sign the central midfielder on a permanent deal.

Chelsea signed the highly rated Frenchman for around £40m from Monaco in 2017, but his failure to adapt to the Premier League saw him shipped off to San Siro for the 2018/19 campaign.

Since then, after a bright start, he has struggled for consistent form with disciplinary problems marring his time in Italy.

Ivan Gennaro Gattuso

According to ?Calciomercato, the 24-year-old’s breakdown in relationship with manager Gennaro Gattuso and failure to hit top form has left Milan thinking twice about making his loan a permanent move.

It now looks almost certain that ?Milan will not be keeping hold of him any longer than they have to, but given how Chelsea are willing to make a £5m loss on the player, it doesn’t appear that they are desperate to keep him either.

This leaves the London club in the precarious position of having to find a suitable buyer for Bakayoko, who is willing to pay £35m for the player. ?Newcastle have previously been linked but seem unlikely to fork out the money required.


With an impending transfer ban, Maurizio Sarri may yet decide to reintegrate the player into teh Blues’ first-team squad next season. However, it seems more likely that ?Chelsea will instead try to find a buyer for the midfielder and receive an extra bit of cash in preparation for next season.


The 11 Highest Paid Managers in European Football

The definition of what a football manager is may have changed over the years, but they are arguably still the most important person at a club as it remains their job to ‘manage’ the players, oversee training and pick the team, with responsibility for results, good or bad, at their door.

Here’s a look at the 11 highest paid managers (using annual salary) in European club football right now…

?Maurizio Sarri – £5m

Maurizio Sarri

When Chelsea finally secured a deal to hire ex-Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri last summer it was on a contract estimated to be worth £5m in wages each season.

Bizarrely, Sarri has been under pressure virtually ever since arriving and remains so. That is despite securing a return to the Champions League and reaching two cup finals.

Source: Evening Standard

Carlo Ancelotti – £5.3m/€6m

Carlo Ancelotti

Sarri is marginally out-earned by the man who replaced him at Napoli, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is thought to have agreed a contract worth €6m per season last summer.

The Italian has at least kept Napoli steady in Serie A, securing a comfortable second place finish to ensure Champions League qualification, albeit on fewer points than under Sarri last season.

Source: The Guardian

Unai Emery – £6m

Unai Emery

Arsenal manager Unai Emery was reported to have signed a contract worth £6m per season when he agreed to take over from long-serving boss Arsene Wenger in May 2018.

So far, the Spaniard has overseen an improvement. The Gunners still finished outside the top four in 2018/19 but were seven points better off than a year ago and reached a European final.

Source: Daily Mirror

Manuel Pellegrini – £7m

Manuel Pellegrini

West Ham made a real statement when they brought former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini back to the Premier League last summer on a contract paying up to £7m annually.

It was a somewhat mixed debut campaign for the Chilean in London, with the Hammers flirting with relegation to begin and eventually clawing their way into the top half to finish the season.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp – £7m

Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is estimated to earn at least £7m per season at Anfield, having arrived at the club in the autumn of 2015 to take over from Brendan Rodgers.

That money doesn’t make him anything like the best-paid manager in the Premier League, but it is believed to be close to double the salary he was taking home at old club Borussia Dortmund.

Source: Goal

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – £7.5m

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United are thought to be paying Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just half the salary that predecessor Jose Mourinho was earning at Old Trafford, although £7.5m still marks a vast increase on the £400,000 the Norwegian is said to have been on at Molde last year.

The question now is whether Solskjaer can prove he is worth the faith by whipping an underperforming United squad into shape in time for next season.

Source: Daily Mirror

Mauricio Pochettino – £8.5m

Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino signed a new contract worth £8.5m per season at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, committing his future to Spurs until 2023.

The Argentine has proven to be worth every penny in the first season of that bumper new deal, guiding Tottenham to a first-ever European Cup/Champions League final.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Zinedine Zidane – £10.5m/€12m

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane walked back into the Real Madrid job in March and pocketed a hefty pay rise on the €7.5m plus bonuses he was reported to be earning during his first spell as Bernabeu coach.

This time around the four-time Champions League winner (three as a coach, one as a player) is said to be earning a net salary of €12m in the Spanish capital.

Source: El Confidencial

Pep Guardiola – £15.2m


It was not clear last year whether Pep Guardiola’s contract extension came with a pay rise, but the Manchester City boss is the best-paid manager in the Premier League on at least £15m nonetheless.

The latest gossip is that after retaining the Premier League title and completing England’s first ever domestic treble, Guardiola is in line for a bumper new deal potentially worth £20m per year.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Ernesto Valverde – £20.2m/€23m

Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has so far enjoyed a monopoly in La Liga after winning the Spanish title in each of his first two seasons at Camp Nou, although he has fallen short in Europe.

The 55-year-old only had a contract until the end of this season until relatively recently, but he extended it in February until the summer of 2020, with the option of a further year.

Source: France Football

Diego Simeone – £35.9m/€41m

Diego Simeone

The latest contract Diego Simeone signed at Atletico Madrid was reported to have put him on a salary around that of star player Antoine Griezmann.

Having spent three years with the club as a player, the Argentine returned to the club as coach in 2011 and has crammed a lot in, wining two Europa Leagues, the Copa del Rey, La Liga and reached two Champions League finals during that time.

Source: France Football