Chelsea will approach Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola as possible replacements at Stamford Bridge for the recently fired Andre Villas Boas after only 256 days as manager.
After Chelsea’s defeat at West Bromwich Albion, Villas Boas was summoned by club owner Roman Abramovich, director Eugene Tenenbaum and the chief executive, Ron Gourlay and fired only 24 hours after the defeat.
The 34-year-old took training in the morning with a shadow squad of those who had not featured at The Hawthorns, and was left bitterly disappointed by the news, having believed until recently that he would be allowed to see through a three-year project aimed at rejuvenating the squad.
Villas Boas leave only 8 months and a total of 40 games into his £4.5m-a-year contract with expectations that Internazionale will announce him as a successor to Claudio Ranieri at San Siro. The first-team fitness coach, José Mário Rocha, and Daniel Sousa, the head opposition scout, are also expected to leave while the first assistant coach, Roberto Di Matteo, will oversee the side for the rest of the season although this decision could be reviewed if results don’t improve. The former West Bromwich manager’s first game will be against Birmingham City on Tuesday in an FA Cup fifth-round replay where he will address the media beforehand.
Di Matteo who is out of contract this summer, could be joined by Gianfranco Zola, on a short-term basis with Chelsea having opted against offering Rafael Benítez an 18-month contract to take up the position. Instead, Di Matteo’s involvement will now buy the Chelsea hierarchy time to identify a sixth permanent manager in five years, a process that will include exploring the possible availability of either Guardiola or Mourinho, who could both depart Spain in the summer.
Guardiola has yet to extend his contract at Barca and remains Abramovich’s dream appointment.
The possibility of Mourinho returning to Stamford Bridge, where he claimed two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup during a shining three-season spell, would motivate the support. The Real Madrid manager has declared his intention to return to the Premier League and was photographed last week looking at properties in London. However, while his relationship with Abramovich has improved in recent years, he is likely to seek assurances he would be granted complete control on footballing matters, should he choose to return.
Abramovich, Tenenbaum and Gourlay were joined by the technical director, Michael Emenalo, to address the team on Sunday about their disappointment and concern over their performance. Those present were warned to increase their efforts to rescue the current campaign after mustering only five wins in 16 matches, with the owner – who had recruited Villas-Boas personally – indicating that he holds them as responsible as the manager for a disappointing season. The future of the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou will be decided in the summer.
Villas-Boas did not attend that meeting but did linger at the training ground to bid farewell to staff and some of the players.
Source: The Guardian