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R Madrid 20:00 Chelsea

Blues 'turn to Spalletti'

Chelsea set sights on Roma head coach

By James Pearson.   Last Updated: 04/06/08 9:17am

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Spalletti: The surprise candidate

Spalletti: The surprise candidate

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Chelsea have reportedly put Roma manager Luciano Spalletti top of their wanted list after missing out on Carlo Ancelotti and Mark Hughes.

Hughes is set to be named Manchester City's new manager while Ancelotti ruled out a move away from Milan on Tuesday.

Although The Blues have also been linked with the likes of Roberto Mancini and Marcello Lippi, it is another Italian who now appears to be winning the race to succeed Avram Grant according to reports in the British press.

Milan's vice-president stated last Saturday that Ancelotti and "another Italian coach" were top of Chelsea's wish list although he refused to divulge the name of the second man.

Coach of the Year

Spalletti was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2006 while last season he helped Roma become the first ever Italian side to defeat Real Madrid in both legs of their UEFA Champions League clash.

Although 49-year-old is not the obvious candidate to replace Grant he revitalised Udinese during his three-year spell with the club while also guiding Roma to second in Serie A last season.

Chelsea would almost certainly be able to agree a compensation package with Roma who are struggling financially with parent company Italpetroli having debuts in the region of £300million.

Any lingering doubt about the likelihood of Ancelotti's arrival at Stamford Bridge was soon dispelled in unequivocal fashion by the double Champions League winner, however, as he spelt out his desire to remain at the San Siro.

"I'm staying at AC Milan for sure, and for many seasons to come," he said.

"I've not spoken to anyone at Chelsea - any other reports are football talk and pure speculation."

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