Luis Enrique has already hinted issue may deny him taking Chelsea job
Arsenal's Arteta opens up on management pressures amid Potter struggles
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Luis Enrique is thought to be one of several managerial candidates in the running to succeed Graham Potter if the under-fire Chelsea boss is axed – but the Spaniard may have inadvertently already ruled himself out of taking the job thanks to his wife. Potter is skating on thin ice after a poor run of form and the former Barcelona coach has been linked with the job at Stamford Bridge.
Luis Enrique has earned a reputation as one of the most skilled coaches in football after his unbridled success with Barcelona, presiding over the club’s Treble-winning season in 2014-15.
The 49-year-old was also in charge of overseeing Spain’s transition from the golden generation that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 to bringing through talents such as Pedri and Gavi. He guided La Roja to the semi-finals at Euro 2020 and the quarter-finals of the World Cup, but an embarrassing defeat to Morocco on penalties brought a premature end of his reign.
There is a clear belief that Luis Enrique could be the answer to Chelsea’s problems, with a no-nonsense approach to the media, preference to play attacking football and track record of winning at the highest level.
But it appears his future could depend on whether his wife, Elena Cullell, has changed her stance on moving to the United Kingdom.
It became clear a decade that the ex-Celta Vigo coach was on the shortlist for United to replace Sir Alex Ferguson, only for David Moyes to get the job. Then his name popped up when Jose Mourinho was fired in 2018, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer landed the role instead. And it later transpired that the Asturian’s classic reason to him turning down the job was related to his wife’s resistance to the poor weather in England.
“I’d like to manage in England at some point,” Luis Enrique told FourFourTwo in 2013. “My wife wouldn’t like the weather, she’s from Barcelona and likes the sun. It would depend on the team and the football they played.”
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It remains to be seen whether Cullel would be open to moving to London, where the weather is only slightly better than Manchester. But there seems to be some interest from Luis Enrique in returning to club management and, with no open posts in La Liga, England could be his best chance.
Of course, it remains a hypothetical scenario while the Chelsea board maintain faith in Potter’s management. The 47-year-old has only won two of his last 16 games, despite overseeing a £323million spend in January, and his side have not scored a goal in four of their last five matches.
Much could depend on how the Blues fare in their next games against Leeds and Borussia Dortmund, with their chances of finishing in the top four all but over following their 2-0 defeat to Tottenham.
But with a talented 33-man squad and an owner flushed with cash, managing the chaotic west London club remains an attractive proposition – and Luis Enrique could be the man to take over if Potter is axed.
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