On Friday the Guardian reported that Luiz Felipe Scolari has been given a position on Chelseaâ€™s PLC board. Although this hasnâ€™t been given much coverage, it is very important and highlights the ease at which Scolari has settled at Chelsea and the impression he has made on the clubâ€™s hierarchy.
As the article tells us, this means that Scolari wont have to deal with a Director of Football, who, as past events have demonstrated, have proven to be nothing other than problematic.
Barely three months into the job, Scolari has been given a large vote of confidence. But why? The answer is that the Brazilian has shown the Abramovich the best of both worlds: winning, and doing it with some style.
It is telling that Jose Mourinho was never offered a place on the board. Although he was a brilliant manager, he was controversial and his teamâ€™s style of play could not be described as â€˜sexyâ€™, despite a few brief flutters with total football. His ability to win trophies was diluted by the constant controversy surrounding him, and there was only going to be one winner in his battle with Abramovich.
Avram Grant was quiet, and surprisingly successful after taking over from Mourinho in September 2007. However, he merely carried on from Mourinho in terms of tactics and playing style, and he also seemedÂ to lack that ruthless streak. He always felt like a stop-gap appointment and he never quite had the respect of the dressing room that Mourinho so faithfully commanded.
Luiz Felipe Scolari seems to be in the middle of his two predecessors. He has the ruthlessness and the tactical nous of Mourinho, but also the calmness and penchant for avoiding controversy that Avram Grant had. But most crucially, he does it all with a bit of flair. After all, that is what Abramovich wants.
He was spellbound by the attacking, thrilling Champions League Quarter Final between Real Madrid and Manchester United that ended up being won by Madrid 6-5 on aggregate, and wants to see Chelsea win things playing in that mould.
While sounding in danger of jumping the gun, I think Scolari offers Abramovich what he wants. Chelsea are top of the Premier League and going good guns in the Carling Cup and Champions League. They remain unbeaten and even the most sceptical of football journalists is starting to recognise that Chelsea are beginning to play with a bit more freedom.
Scolari fits Abramovichâ€™s Chelsea vision like a glove.
Bruce Bruck, Chelseaâ€™s chairman seems to think so as well.
"We believe you need to encourage the manager to look long term. You have to have proper lines of communication between the manager and the scouts. We don't support the model where a director of football just buys up players and dumps on the manager," said Buck recently, seemingly without a hint of irony. Funny, didnâ€™t the exact opposite happen under Mourinhoâ€™s reign?
Things may be rosy at the moment, but Chelsea have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot by sacking popular managers (Guillit, Vialli and Mourinho). Who knows what is on the football horizon.