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Chelsea Opinion: Watford’s Javi Gracia linked with the Blues- A good choice?

According to the Daily Record, Chelsea have shortlisted Watford manager Javi Gracia as a potential candidate to replace Maurizio Sarri at the helm of affairs next season.

Gracia, though, is not the only one who has been linked with the job at Stamford Bridge next season, with Derby County manager and club legend Frank Lampard and Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo also on the Blues’ radar. (h/t Daily Record)

The 48-year-old Spaniard is under contract at Vicarage Road until 2023 with the option of three more years and Chelsea would need to pay the Watford owners- the Pozzo family, a hefty compensation to bring him to Stamford  Bridge in the summer.

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Gracia took over the reins from Marco Silva at Vicarage Road in January 2018 and guided Watford to safety in the Premier League last season.

The Spaniard has been instrumental in transforming Watford’s fortunes from a bottom-half side in the Premier League into realistic Europa League contenders this time around. His stocks have soared sky-high ever since the Hornets made it to the finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 35 years.

Watford’s surge for the seventh spot in the Premier League has largely been down to Gracia’s tactical intelligence and exemplary man-management skills.

The Daily Record reports that the Spaniard’s controversy-free demeanour and his ability to get the best out the existing players at the club have put him on the radar of Chelsea, though it remains to be seen whether the Blues decide to part ways with Sarri after just a single season in charge.

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To put things into perspective, Chelsea’s links with Gracia should please the fans at Stamford Bridge, particularly due to the fact that he has proven his ability to work wonders under a tight budget.

Chelsea need to control their transfer policy in order to ensure final stability at the club and a manager like Gracia, who would not make aggressive and extravagant demands in the transfer window, could prove to be the right option for the Blues.

Watford are currently fighting it out with the likes of Everton, Wolves and Leicester City for the Europa League qualification spot.

However, a closer look at the expenditure of the other three clubs reveals that they have spent a lot more money in the transfer window as compared to the Hornets.

Watford have emerged as one of the most organised and well-maintained clubs in the top flight and their ability to compete toe-to-toe with more financially affluent clubs is a clear testament of Gracia’s charisma.

Chelsea remain hopeful of having their transfer ban lifted but the arrival of someone like Gracia would be a blessing in disguise if the ban does remain in place, which is certainly a strong possibility.

Gracia’s ability to extract the best out of the younger players and effectively manage the workload of the older players should help Chelsea cope with a potential crisis situation.

Also, the Blues can look forward to saving millions in the transfer market with Gracia in charge, as the Spaniard has a very pragmatic approach and targets bargain deals to get good value for money.

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Watford have caught the eye with their impressive balanced attacking football in the Premier League under the stewardship of Gracia, which includes aesthetic link-up play in the final third and moving the ball around quickly to break the opposition’s defensive lines.

Creative players like Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Pereyra, Will Hughes and Abdoulaye Doucoure have flourished under the Spaniard’s free-flowing style and there is every chance that the fans at Stamford Bridge might get to witness and completely different style of play as compared to slow and boring ‘Sarri Ball’ if the 48-year-old takes charge.

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Gracia has quite a lot of managerial experience in Spain and Russia, and given that he has made a big impression at Vicarage Road this season, Chelsea have every reason to look at him as a long-term fix. Considering his acumen and ability to implement his principles to perfection, taking charge of a title-contending club should not be a big deal for the Spaniard.


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