Watford manager Javi Gracia has been linked to the Chelsea job next season as pressure mounts on Maurizio Sarri, reports have suggested.

A range of news outlets including Duncan Castles of the Daily Record, have suggested this morning that Javi Gracia could become Chelsea’s new manager next season, this comes following The Blue’s 2-0 defeat at Anfield against title challenging Liverpool. Chelsea currently sit 5th in the table but Arsenal and Manchester United both have played one game less, meaning the club could easily drop down to 6th place coming into the few remaining games of the season and it’s beginning to look more and more unlikely that the Blues will sit in a champions league spot come May. Sarri could still save his job if he can lead the club to Europa League glory which will secure the club a spot in the champions league next season, regardless of their league position. It seems that as long as Chelsea are playing in Europe’s premiere competition next season then the board will give the Italian manager more time, however it will be tough for Maurizio Sarri with tricky fixtures to come.

despite an upturn in results recently, Sarri is under pressure at Chelsea. (image source: TEAMtalk)

The Chelsea board have identified a number of candidates that are ready to take over the reigns which includes Javia Gracia, the Spaniard has impressed everyone this season with how he has managed his Watford side who have enjoyed a successful, entertaining season and currently sit 10th in the Premier League but are just a single point behind 7th placed Leicester City. The former Malaga head coach has shown an adaptability that is rare amongst managers and a willingness to change his side and system to suit certain opponents, something Sarri has been strongly criticised for not doing – being described as ‘stubborn’ by large groups of Chelsea fans for not changing his possession based system. There’s no doubt Gracia has got his Watford side over-performing this season, reaching an FA cup final which they could yet win against Manchester City and the club also look set for a comfortable top half finish with it looking highly likely The Hornets achieve a 7th place spot at the end of the season. One key thing that the Chelsea board are reportedly impressed with is Gracia’s ability to maintain a happy dressing room and atmosphere at the club that comes due to his management style and close relationship with individual players. This is an area Chelsea have struggled with in the past, with cracks showing and relationships seemingly breaking down with Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and now seemingly Maurizio Sarri too. The Watford boss has also impressed Chelsea bosses with his calm and understated style of management and good relationship with the media, another area where Sarri and his predecessors have been criticised. Marina Granovskaia is also tempted by Gracia as it seems unlikely he’d be so demanding and reliant in the transfer market, and more likely to work with what he’s got and improve the players that are already in the clubs roster – which could be great with a transfer ban looming over Stamford bridge.

Javi Gracia has a healthy and happy relationship with his players. (image source: Watford Observer)

Maurizio Sarri is reportedly drawing interest from Serie A side AS Roma who currently have former Chelsea man Claudio Ranieri in temporary charge.

Chelsea are also again linked for moves for Wolves’ Nuno Espírito Santo and club legend Frank Lampard, with both apparently sitting on the boards shortlist for the next manager job if they decide to pull the trigger and let go of Maurizio Sarri. We will report more information as we get it regarding the managers job but we think the most likely scenario at the moment is that Sarri remains in charge.

Written by Dan Barker | @danbarkzr