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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.
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.
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.
Please do not hire Grant back!! When we sacked him, it was the best day of my life. He was the part of the people that forced the special one out. We are one of the best clubs in the world and deserve only the best. Let's just hire Ling then instead. He's on the loose as far as i know and he's accomplished more than Grant. Please Roman have some sense!!
Posted 08:55 10th February 2009
Granted, Avram G did a competent job with Chelsea. But he cannot be the face of Chelsea. we need someone with a personality. Mourinho was perfect, he was obviously a very talented manager and he had personality to match the club, and he thus inspired the players and especially the FANS, and that is very important if Chelsea want to be a big name in the football world locally and globally. I can understand I suppose them bringing back Grant till the end of the season as a caretaker, but then the club must say that that is the case, since I dont think the fans will be able to accept the uncertainty and possibility of him staying long term. My short list is Mourinho, Zola and Rijkaard.
Posted 08:51 10th February 2009
Avram Grant should never have been sacked in the first place. He done an admiral job with Chelsea last year and was sacked to make way for Scolari if he does come back he would be crazy, also his right hand man when he was at Chelsea has gone to West Ham. They should bring in Zola and Clarke and also Gus Poyet
Posted 08:01 10th February 2009
Would be a VERY interesting appointment. Its clear that the board are realising that finishing 2nd on 2 fronts to an awesome Manchester United side, and 2nd in the Carling Cup to a (at the time) flying Tottenham Hotspurs, was a MUCH bigger acheivement that flailing 4th in the league behind a host of clubs who have all been doing there best to throw this league away. They have been little match for the other members of the 'Big 4', and were lucky to escape with a draw at home to Manchester United...also to hold out for 88mins against Liverpool. They rarely look like winning....whereas Avram Grants problem was quite the opposite, as it was Manchester United that never looked like losing!! Better the devil you know than the devil you dont?? DEFINATELY!!
Posted 07:57 10th February 2009
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Four wins and Chelsea will be crowned champions for the first time in four years - anything less and the Premier League trophy will surely be destined for Anfield.
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