Chelsea are braced for a battle to keep hold of highly-rated coach Anthony Barry after Thomas Tuchel agreed to return to management with Bayern Munich.
Tuchel had been out of work since being sacked by Chelsea in September, but could face his old club if the Blues and Bayern both qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League. It is anticipated that Zsolt Low and Arno Michels, who left Chelsea at the same time as Tuchel, will join Tuchel’s backroom staff at Bayern.
But Chelsea could also have field interest from Tuchel in Barry, who worked with the German but stayed behind at Stamford Bridge after his departure to help Graham Potter. Tuchel is understood to rate Barry extremely highly and would like to work with the 36-year-old, who has taken up a part-time coaching role with the Portugal national side alongside his Chelsea duties, again.
It is not known whether or not Barry would be interested in joining Tuchel at Bayern or even if Chelsea would allow their former head coach to speak to him.
Barry was hired at Chelsea by former head coach Frank Lampard, having previously worked at Wigan Athletic and played as a midfielder for a host of clubs including Yeovil Town and Fleetwood Town.
He stayed at Chelsea to work with Tuchel and the pair won the Champions League, before becoming a member of Potter’s first-team staff. He worked for the Republic of Ireland, before joining Roberto Martinez in Belgium for the World Cup and now moving with the Spaniard to Portugal.
In an interview with Telegraph Sport last year, Barry, who became the first student at St George’s Park to have course research published as an academic journal, explained his attention to detail.
“At Wigan, we were desperate to come up with ways to get more possession,” said Barry. “We wanted the ball. Normally it is about more passing drills in training, maybe playing an extra midfielder.
“On the Saturday we had lost 3-2 away at Luton – a real bad one for us – so the next day I sat at my desk. Liverpool had just appointed Thomas Gronnemark as a throw-in coach. There was no preconceived bias. I just wanted to know what the data said and if and how it really made a difference.
“First up I started watching videos of Championship games and realized that West Brom and Brentford were enjoying between 20 and 30 seconds of possession after every throw-in. At Wigan we were averaging between two and eight seconds, losing the ball too soon. Add it up and the difference is huge, especially when you think there could be as many as 45 throw-ins in a game. The impact on possession stats is huge, with as much as 21 percent of possession a direct result of throw-ins. This has nothing to do with the level of players in your team, but is all about the set-up and how you go about retaining possession from a throw-in or getting it off the opposition quickly.
“For my study we analyzed a full Premier League season of throw-ins – 17,000 of them – with data scientists. You could see the impact of the work Liverpool did with Gronnemark and now it is a trend which has caught on across football.”