COMMENT: Chelsea FC. Is the name enough? The brand? No matter the circumstances. The reputation. For what now looms on the horizon, is the name of Chelsea enough to convince any top drawer manager to gamble his career with them...?
It was a month ago. Actually just a little longer. When Dutch pundit Johan Derksen let it be known that Chelsea had - via intermediaries - reached out to Erik ten Hag's representatives. It was an enquiry. A simple expression of interest. And at the time seemed fanciful.
From the club's point of view, the motivation is the same as what led to discussions of Steve Holland returning from his assistant's role with England. The new man in charge. The one to not only replace Maurizio Sarri, but also rip up his Sarriball system and build from scratch... again. He will take the job with no opportunity of adding to his inherited squad for 12 months. He will also have to make do without Eden Hazard. Plus potentially Marcos Alonso, who has committed himself to Atletico Madrid, and Mateo Kovacic, the Croatian due back with parent club Real Madrid for preseason.
In terms of experience. Of veteran influence. The cupboard will be threadbare. Chelsea - with Hazard no longer available to drag them over the line - will be relying on the kids. In the Premier League and Champions League.
For most managers, such a situation would be viewed as an opportunity. A great opportunity. The chance to establish your methods for a year. And thanks to the two window transfer ban, without the demands and expectations that would usually exist at a club of Chelsea's stature.
For Ten Hag, the chance to tap into Europe's most successful academy system would be exciting. For Holland, having seen so much talent roll through the club's production line, to have the opportunity to right the wrongs of past managers would surely be irresistible.
But there's also Chelsea's reputation to consider. And that's the paradox. Any manager of Ten Hag's persuasion. The type whom enjoys working with young players. Of bringing them through and seeing them develop. They sign on to such projects with long-term ideas. Chelsea, as they've shown with their treatment of Sarri, don't do long-term. They don't allow their managers to develop players. Systems. It's win or bust. Hang on, it's actually now win and bust. Ten Hag. Holland. Even Frank Lampard. They'll know taking the Chelsea job - at best - represents a stop-gap in a career. And for a foreign manager, it's worse. Do you relocate your family to London? Enroll your kids in local schools? All the while knowing Champions League qualification and a European trophy - in a first season - still won't be enough to prevent you and your loved ones from having to pack up and start again elsewhere?
This is what Sarri has endured. Though while there should be some professional sympathy for the Italian. And being denied the chance to finish what he had started this past season has left him somewhat frustrated. Sarri, when it comes to the business side of things, is a pragmatist. And as we've mentioned, the former banker has made this stop-gap work for him.
Sarri leaves Chelsea with a first significant trophy of his career. He'll walk into the Juventus job on significantly more money than he has been earning in London. And with reputation not just intact - but enhanced - he will inherit a squad eager to work with him. Indeed, even those close to Cristiano Ronaldo have pointed to Hazard's success last season to assure Juve's No7 of what to expect from his new coach.
How Juve pay Sarri's €5m compensation fee is now being thrashed out. Players have been mentioned as part of a deal which would see the fee absorbed. Emerson Palmieri has been pushed by the press in England as a potential addition to the deal. However, this column has been told Blues youngster Juan Familio Castillo has been raised by Juve during negotiations. The Dutch wing-back is regarded highly by Juve sports director Fabio Paratici and one who would be a target this summer regardless of Sarri's situation.
No matter how it's structured, this deal will be done. Sarri confident he will be confirmed new Juve coach by the time he touches down in San Benedetto del Tronto for his routine summer break.
In contrast, Chelsea are left scrambling. Cutting loose Sarri does them no favours. Their reputation. The perception of how they treat their managers. No matter the success. It has simply taken another knock.
Lampard apart. It's difficult to see how any sought after coach, particularly a foreign one, would see this job as attractive. The Chelsea name may still be enough to attract the ambitious. Maybe even the best. But given this sack culture, it won't last for long.