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Grant linked with return

Former Chelsea boss mooted as potential short-term solution

By James Dall.   Last Updated: 10/02/09 9:11am

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Grant: Chelsea reports

Grant: Chelsea reports

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Chelsea are believed to by eyeing a short-term solution to Luiz Felipe Scolari's sacking, with former Blues boss Avram Grant strongly linked with the vacancy.

NAMES IN FRAME Following the departure of Luiz Felipe Scolari, Sky Bet make Frank Rijkaard the 9/4 favourite to take over at Chelsea. Guus Hiddink has drifted to 5/1 while Gianfranco Zola is 11/2. To bet, click here

Grant took over at Stamford Bridge last season, after Jose Mourinho's departure in September 2007, and led the side to second in the Premier League, pushing Manchester United all the way in the title race, and runners-up in the Carling Cup and UEFA Champions League.

Chelsea are understood to want to make a swift appointment following Scolari's sacking but are content to wait until the summer before choosing a permanent successor, with press reports on Tuesday suggesting AC Milan head coach Carlo Ancelotti could be a target.

The Blues, according to reports, are only looking at coaches who are currently out of work, so that would make any move for Gianfranco Zola at West Ham United, Roberto Di Matteo at MK Dons and Russia's Gus Hiddink unlikely, while unemployed Roberto Mancini has already ruled himself out of the running.

Grant and ex-Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard are both contenders, while former Chelsea midfielders Gus Poyet and Dennis Wise are considered outsiders.

But speculation that Grant is the man in the frame continues to gather pace, particularly as he was being linked with a return to Portsmouth following the dismissal of Tony Adams.

Scolari paid the price for a season in which Chelsea have dropped 16 home points, were disposed of by Championship side Burnley in the Carling Cup and slipped to fourth in the Premier League.

Contenders & compensation

Meanwhile, it is claimed that the club's decision to sack Scolari, who had penned a three-year deal worth an estimated annual £6million, could cost the Premier League club up to £15million in compensation.

It could take the total spent on getting rid of the last three managers to around £40million, following the departures of Jose Mourinho in September, 2007 and Grant last summer.

Grant was fired to make way for Scolari just five months after putting pen to paper on a new four-year deal.

The club's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, is due to reveal the club's accounts for the year ended July 2008 at the end of this week.

They are expected to show a loss with much of it likely to be explained away by the massive pay-offs to Grant and Mourinho.

Kenyon continues to insist the club will become 'operationally independent' of owner Roman Abramovich by 2010.

But that plan may now have taken a huge setback because of the decision to offload Scolari.

Chelsea recorded a loss of £75.8million in the accounts to the end of June 2007 and although that was significantly better than the £140million loss recorded two years earlier, their continual handouts to unwanted managers threatens to undermine their plan to run a cost-effective ship.

The club's owner is reported to have seen his wealth hit by the global financial crisis but he steadfastly refuses any notion that he is looking to sell the club.

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