Those looking for an alternative to 6/1 joint-favourites Sam Allardyce and Steve Clarke in the ever-intriguing first Premier League manager to leave market could do worse than consider Roberto Di Matteo at 10/1.
The Italian tactician was given the Chelsea job on a full-time basis this summer after achieving unprecedented success with a struggling squad while in caretaker charge, guiding them to both FA Cup and Champions League glory.
Despite that, there were regular reports that Roman Abramovich wasn’t entirely convinced by the former Blues midfielder, partly due to the reactive and at times defensive football favoured, and also because of his lack of top-level coaching experience.
And while the temptation is to dismiss such suggestions as media mischief making, the fact that Di Matteo was kept waiting almost a month after the Champions League final before being confirmed indicated a degree of doubt.
The former MK Dons and West Brom boss will also be aware that, though he fulfilled the Russian billionaire’s ultimate ambition by delivering in Europe, Abramovich’s gratitude isn’t a limitless source.
After all, Jose Mourinho led Chelsea to their first two titles in 50 years yet was deemed dispensable and Carlo Ancelotti became their first ever double winning manager and was out of work a year later.
If Abramovich is willing to be that ruthless with some of the most decorated coaches on the planet, he won’t hesitate in ditching a relative rookie whose reputation he is entitled to feel was flagging before returning to Stamford Bridge.
The arrival of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin lifts expectations without guaranteeing improvement, with a particular concern being that, as things stand, Fernando Torres is first-choice striker and has been anything but dependable since joining.
Last season was Chelsea’s worst in the Premier League in a decade. They were 25 points off the pace and yet a title challenge (9/2) will be demanded. If Di Matteo can’t produce it, Abramovich won’t let sentiment prevent him making a change.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.