Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea land Villas-Boas

By Mark Fleming

Having sacked an experienced manager in Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea are intending to go to the other extreme after making a serious move for Porto coach Andre Villas-Boas, who is just 33-years-old and has only one full season as manager under his belt.

That one season could not have been better — an incredible debut year with Porto, who went through the domestic leagues season unbeaten, won a domestic treble and also the Europa League.

However Villas-Boas's lack of experience — his only other managerial job was eight months in charge at Academica de Coimbre — makes him a huge gamble for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

The Russian oligarch is believed to be the driving force behind appointing Jose Mourinho's protege as Chelsea's sixth manager in four years.

It is understood he is ready to meet the £13.2m buy-out clause in Villas-Boas' Porto contract, although Chelsea are trying to pay less. Villas-Boas yesterday informed Porto of his intention to leave and was last night in his apartment in the city waiting for the deal to be completed.

The Portuguese coach, who wrote notoriously detailed dossiers on the opposition for Mourinho at Chelsea from 2003 to 2007, has been offered £5m a year on a three-year deal to take over at Stamford Bridge and replace the experienced Ancelotti, who was sacked on the final day of last season.

Should Abramovich be successful in enticing Villas-Boas away from Porto, it will take the Russian's total spending in compensation to former clubs and sacked managers to £62m. It is likely a deal will be reached by the end of the week.

A Chelsea spokesman said: “We hope to be able to make an announcement regarding the new manager in the next few days.”

Chelsea had been attempting to tie up a deal to release Guus Hiddink from his contract as manager of Turkey, but in recent weeks Abramovich has gradually changed his mind in favour of the youthful approach of Villas-Boas.

Hiddink is understood to have been reluctant to take on the day-to-day responsibility of managing and coaching the first-team full-time at the age of 64.

He wanted to appoint several coaches, allowing him to spend time in Holland, which set off alarm bells within the Chelsea board and prompted a closer look at Villas-Boas.

Porto president Pinta da Costa yesterday admitted that he will be unable to prevent Villas-Boas from moving to England if his release fee is met. He said: “Villas-Boas has a contract and a clause of €15 million [£13.2m].

“If someone deposits €15 million into our account and he wants to go, we can not do anything because it is contractually specified.”

Sources in Portugal last night claimed that Villas-Boas has been told Chelsea will make funds available for him to take prolific striker Falcao with him.

The 25-year-old striker, who set a new record of 17 goals in 14 games during the 2010-11 Europa League campaign, has a £26m buy-out clause in his contract.

Hiddink could yet return to Chelsea in a football director role but only once he has completed Turkey's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. No compensation need by paid by Chelsea for him.

Belfast Telegraph

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