Turmoil at Chelsea as Benitez lined up to replace AVB
Former Liverpool boss has been approached about taking over until the end of the season
TIME appears to be running out for Chelea manager Andre Villas Boas in the wake of Chelsea's chaotic defeat to Napoli in the Champions League this week as rumours that Rafa Benitez is being lined up to replace him gather pace.
And after a dismal run of four wins in 14 games these are turbulent times at Stamford Bridge with rumours of dressing room unrest and disagreements between Roman Abramovich and his advisors.
Of most concern to AVB will be reports that Benitez has been approached to take over until the end of the season. "Intermediaries acting for the club have made contact with the former Liverpool manager and that could spell the end for Villas-Boas," says The Times.
The move was made against the backdrop of what the paper describes as "open revolt" against the manager by some players and debate in the boardroom over whether the manager should be given more time.
"It is understood that Abramovich is inclined to make a change sooner rather than later but sources close to him are lobbying for a reprieve for Villas-Boas – at least for the next few weeks and possibly until the end of the season," reports The Daily Telegraph. "The complaints of senior players do not concern Abramovich but the gradual sense that the club’s season is slipping away does."
If AVB is given his marching orders and Benitez does take over it will be the third time in five seasons that Chelsea have concluded their season with a caretaker manager at the helm after Avram Grant took over from Jose Mourinho in 2007 and Guus Hiddink was drafted in after Luiz Felipe Scolari got the bullet in 2009.
It is the familiar whiff of a short-term fix at Stamford Bridge that concerns Benitez. "He is understood to be reluctant to consider what would effectively be a temporary position until May," says The Guardian.
According to the Telegraph, there will be yet another reassessment of Chelsea's long-term plans in the summer, when Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, whose relations with Abramovich have thawed, could be in the frame.