Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea and Ten Cate at odds over coach's role

By Sam Wallace

Chelsea are close to finalising the deal for new assistant coach Henk ten Cate but talks have been held up while it is made clear to the ambitious Dutchman that he will be under the authority of new manager Avram Grant. Ten Cate will have to agree to those conditions if he is to take the job as Grant's assistant.

Ajax announced yesterday that they have reached agreement with Chelsea on the compensation package for the 52-year-old, however the key issues have not yet been resolved with Ten Cate himself. He had originally expected to be in charge of training sessions and tactics but it is Chelsea's intention that Grant dictate the tactics – as well as his own ideas and philosophy – to his new assistant to implement at the training ground.

In a style that has become typical of the Roman Abramovich reign at Chelsea there appears to be yet another minor power struggle taking place – although in this case, Ten Cate is not even an employee of the club yet. With Ajax eager to get him out the door – Marco van Basten is favourite to get that job permanently next summer – Ten Cate has been told that he will come to Stamford Bridge as an assistant and not as the manager.

Grant's policy will be to give Ten Cate a degree of independence when it comes to taking training sessions but the experienced Dutchman will not be given anything like full control of the club's playing side and team selection will be the Israeli's job. When those conditions are framed in a contract that can be agreed by both sides, Chelsea expect to reach a final agreement on compensation with Ajax.

Should Ten Cate agree to those terms, he will join Steve Clarke as one of the two assistants to Grant. However, the Scotsman's intentions in the long-term are by no means clear with it likely that he wants to try his hand at management some time soon. Until Clarke makes a final decision on his future, Chelsea are not likely to make a move for a British coach – Jamie Redknapp is one of those in the frame.

After the 1-0 victory over Bolton at the Reebok stadium on Sunday, John Terry said that the Chelsea players were behind Grant and his strategy for the future. He also said that the squad wanted Clarke to stay. "Clarkey knows the club inside out," Terry said. "He is passionate for the club and when he speaks it is from the heart. That is very important for not only the English boys, but the foreign lads who have not been here too long."

"The fans will show their support for Grant," Terry added. "I have spoken to them and they are fully behind us and Avram. "Obviously they have great feelings for Jose Mourinho and will always sing his name. Avram is a move forward and they will love him in the future. He is definitely the man in charge for the future, the players have taken to him very well and he has adapted well. You can see that now."

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