Former captain also feels it is too soon for Frank Lampard to take over
Chelsea legend Dennis Wise says he will be sad to see Maurizio Sarri leave the Blues this summer, with the Italian closing in on a move to Juventus.
The current Chelsea manager is expected to leave the Premier League side and return to his homeland to take over from Massimiliano Allegri (who is taking a year off from football management) at the current Serie A champions.
And Wise, who captained Chelsea to two FA Cup wins and success in the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his 11 years at Stamford Bridge, feels it would be a shame to see Sarri leave after just one season, after guiding Chelsea to a third-place finish in the Premier League and victory in the UEFA Europa League Final against Arsenal.
“Yeah I think it is, with what he has done so far. The aim was to get into the Champions League, and he has not only done that, he has got to two finals and alright, we lost to Manchester City [in the Carabao Cup final], but we beat Arsenal in a wonderful performance [in the Europa League final], so I think it is disappointing that he is going, but these things happen in football, and people move on.”
With Sarri appearing to be Juve-bound, the frontrunner expected to take over from the Italian at the helm is none other Frank Lampard, arguably the greatest player ever to play for Chelsea.
The Blues’ all-time top goalscorer would undoubtedly receive a hero’s welcome from the Stamford Bridge faithful on his return, but Wise, who left Chelsea eleven days after Lampard joined the club back in 2001, believes it is “too soon” for the legendary midfielder to return to the club as manager.
“Frank [Lampard] has had his first season as a manager and he did a good job at Derby to get them into the play-offs and to the play-off final, but getting there and not getting up is not good enough really at the end of the day.
It is something they [Derby] have done before. He brought in quite a few players and changed things around, I just think it would have been nice for him to stay there and have a bit more time really.
You look at Chelsea and Derby, the expectations at Derby is to try and get up into the Premier League, the expectations at Chelsea is to get to the Champions League and win trophies, so that is a big jump if it happens.”
Wise believes that despite the job being a massive step up for Lampard, he would take the job this summer if it was offered to him by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and club director Marina Granovskaia.
And with this in mind, the former Blues’ skipper had a word of warning for Lampard, and his assistant at Derby County, Jody Morris, who would also be likely to return to Chelsea.
It is a huge risk, but that is what Frank is about. I believe he will want to take that risk and have a go at it. He will say he can have a look at bringing some youngsters through, that could be a plus, but it also may be a minus because if Chelsea are not in a position they want to, it could be a big minus.
I think he should be a bit patient. He left Chelsea five years ago, and this is a different squad of players, I think there are only three players there who were there then. If he goes in there, they will respect him as a person and as a player, but if he goes in there with Jody [Morris], they will have to gain respect in a coaching capacity, and that’s massive.”
Despite the obvious reservations around Lampard potentially returning to the club where he became a club icon – with alternative managerial options being mentioned and available to Chelsea in the likes of Rafa Benítez, Erik ten Hag, Nuno Espírito Santo and Ralf Rangnick to name a few – Wise would be intrigued to see how it would work for him, adding that if he was appointed he would wish all the best.
“He will love it. He will walk in there, he will look forward to it. But when it happens and you are in that scenario on the touchline and you have to make decisions, and it doesn’t go right, then it will soon start to change.
Obviously they have lost their best player in Eden Hazard, and it will be interesting to see how it pans out if he does take the job, I am really intrigued.
I think it is too soon, but that is just my opinion, and I will wish him and Jody all the best to succeed if they do get it.”