Wed, Feb 11, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Hiddink will talk about Chelsea vacancy: agent

AFP , LONDON

Former Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is pictured at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke, England, on Monday.

PHOTO: AFP

Guus Hiddink will talk to Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich over the managerial vacancy at the club following the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari, his agent said yesterday.

Hiddink knows Abramovich through his role as Russia coach, a job on which he remains “focused,” his representative Cees van Nieuwenhuizen said.

But while he is determined to see through the task of leading Russia to next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa, the well-traveled Dutchman would take a call from the Chelsea owner.

“I think because of the personal relationship he has with Mr Abramovich he will definitely talk to him and listen to him, but I think Mr Abramovich realizes he also has not finished his job [with Russia],” van Nieuwenhuizen told BBC radio.

“I think that Guus and Mr Abramovich know each other well enough — he’s not going to say he is not going to talk to [Abramovich] and he is not going to listen,” he said. “He is focused on his job with Russia, he is with the team on a training camp in Turkey and he is looking forward to qualifying with Russia for the World Cup.”

Following the sudden sacking of Scolari on Monday after Chelsea slipped seven points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, former South Korea and Australia boss Hiddink confirmed he had not heard from Chelsea.

Press reports have linked AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, former Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini and ex-Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard with the Chelsea job.

The club’s former manager Avram Grant, who also has a good relationship with Abramovich, is reportedly in contention to return as a caretaker manager until the end of the season after being dismissed by the Blues last year.

Scolari had barely left Stamford Bridge before the feverish speculation about his replacement as Chelsea manager began.

But many questioned who would want the poisoned chalice of a club where the owner had no qualms about sacking managers, the dressing room was divided and that was sliding down the league table.

“No money, no class and no security ... dream job is becoming a nightmare,” said the Daily Mirror tabloid.

Scolari was axed just eight months into a three-year deal, becoming the fourth manager to feel the brunt of Abramovich’s displeasure in less than five years.

The Mirror had little sympathy for Scolari, saying he failed to react to warning signals and “was a dead man walking.”

“Last night, for the last time, he walked out of Cobham, never to return. Gone and unlamented,” the tabloid said.

Others noted Scolari’s lax training regime but said he inherited a team that badly needed rejuvenating and was not given the help he needed. Scolari’s agent Acaz Felleger has blamed Chelsea’s slide on the failure to sign Robinho.

Scolari had lost the support of some of his players, and the Sun warned Chelsea had become a club “deeply divided by warring factions,” not helped by Abramovich who treated it like he was a “child with a toy.”

The Independent said Abramovich was ultimately to blame, and the former World Cup-winning coach of Brazil was simply the “latest fall guy in history of Roman will.”

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