Mourinho plans Porto raid
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Portuguese tactician all but confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in football on Thursday, when he conceded he was interested in taking the reins at Stamford Bridge.
Although his appointment is unlikely to be rubber-stamped until after Porto's UEFA Champions League final appearance, the rumour-mill has already gone into overdrive as to which players Mourinho will look to bring in.
The former Benfica boss has now indicated that he will raid Porto for some of the players with whom he has enjoyed so much success over the past couple of seasons.
"At the moment Porto has got a large number of players who are at the absolute highest level," he stated.
"In football every player has his price."
Porto have insisted they will fight any moves to try and dismantle their squad, but reports suggest that Mourinho has earmarked Deco, Costinha and Paulo Ferreira as the players he wants to be reunited with.
Meanwhile, the man Mourinho is all but certain to replace, Claudio Ranieri, has warned that his successor must bring a trophy to Stamford Bridge next season or face a similar fate to his own.
A resigned Ranieri defended his record at Stamford Bridge - despite not having won anything during his four-year stint - and reiterated his disappointment at not being given the chance to continue his work.
"The owner Mr Abramovich did not ask me to win a trophy for him but I was one hour away from getting the chance to do exactly that," the Italian stated.
"I can hold my head high because myself and this special group of players have done a very good job for Chelsea.
"My way is to try to improve every year. This season we have done that so next season there must be improvement again.
"It's not easy because football can be so unpredictable but I have laid the foundations, the ground floor is ready and now I'd like to put the windows in and finish with the roof garden.
"I think second place in the Premiership and the Champions League semi- final is a fair return for the investment made in players.
"If you had said we'd achieve that at the beginning of the season, then everybody at Stamford Bridge would have been happy.
"Don't forget I built the group, put in the foundations.
"These are strong, the spirit of the players is strong. I have another three years on my contract and I don't see why I can't finish what I have started.
"I want to finish my job - but I am not the owner."