Glorious return for former Chelsea hero in the pipeline

Chelsea’s hunt for Jose Mourinho’s permanent replacement has thrown up plenty of exotic-sounding potential appointments, but now there is a name far closer to home in the picture.

Joining the likes of outgoing Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola (10/1) and Atletico Madrid counterpart Diego Simeone (8/1), Stoke City chief Mark Hughes is now making headlines.

Hughes, a former Stamford Bridge favourite who played a starring role in landing three separate pieces of silverware in the 90s, could be set for a glorious return according to the Guardian newspaper.

His ability to transform Stoke from one of the Premier League’s ugliest ducklings into one of its most graceful swans over just two seasons has supposedly caught the eye of Chelsea magnate Roman Abramovich.

Manchester or London for the former Barcelona boss?

Manchester or London for the former Barcelona boss?

Although the man nicknamed Sparky is still priced a fair way down the list of prospective Mourinho-successors, at 20/1, these odds could yet be enormous if Stoke continue to blossom this season.

Under Hughes last term the Potters achieved their highest Premier League points haul since attaining promotion in 2008 and they did it by playing an aesthetic brand of football, virtually unrecognisable from the Tony Pulis era.

Once again in 2015/16 the Potters are enjoying life in the top half of the table and only missed out on a Wembley appearance in the Capital One Cup final by the margin of sudden death penalties.

By blending together a string of technically gifted signings such as Bojan, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri, the Welshman’s work in turning the Britannia Stadium into a Premier League destination can only be applauded.

More than that, it could act as a springboard for a return to one of the top-flight’s elite teams since being somewhat harshly sacked by Manchester City midway through his second campaign at the helm.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.