André Villas-Boas heads to Chelsea after £13.3m compensation agreed(Guardian)
André Villas-Boas is close to finalising personal terms to become the next Chelsea manager, the west London club have confirmed. The statement came after Porto officially announced that they had received the £13.3m required to trigger his release clause, the 33-year-old having earlier tendered his resignation.
"We note that the release clause of André Villas-Boas has been activated. We can at this time confirm our interest in him and hope to reach agreement with him on personal terms and make a further announcement in the near future," Chelsea said.
While the announcement and Porto's own statement suggested that they had received the £13.3m directly from Villas-Boas, he may have been legally required to trigger the clause, rather than Chelsea, with the owner Roman Abramovich potentially having guaranteed the finance. Reports in Portugal suggested that the delay in Villas-Boas being released was due to an initial unwillingness to pay the full £13.3m. The listed Portuguese club said: "FC Porto, in accordance with Article 248 paragraph 1 of the Securities Code, hereby informs the market they have received from Mr André Villas-Boas the amount provided for in the clause to terminate his employment contract."
The statement added that all that remains to be sorted out was the formalities of the termination of Villas-Boas's contract before he can officially join Chelsea.
It also emerged that Villas-Boas's successor as Porto coach, Vítor Pereira, turned down the chance to be the assistant manager at Chelsea for next season. Sources in Porto suggested that Villas-Boas would bring his trainer José Mario Rocha and the scout Daniel Sousa with him from Porto.
After Pinto da Costa, the Porto president, confirmed that the release clause money had been paid to his club at around 5pm local time, he hinted that Villas-Boas had been in negotiation with Chelsea over the past few weeks.
"For some time we've lined up Vítor Pereira in the eventuality of our coach leaving," he said. "Of course I didn't want to lose André Villas-Boas. But I'm not angry with him. These things don't affect me any more. I wish him luck. I am sure he will have great success. I hope he always wins, except against FC Porto."
After Abramovich opted to pay £50m to bring Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea in last January's transfer window, the Russian billionaire's decision to pay a £13.3m "transfer fee" for Villas-Boas, who has only completed one full season as a head coach and is unproven in any of Europe's major leagues, indicates Chelsea's intent to rebuild and challenge next season.
Abramovich may firm up an interest in Porto's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao once Villas-Boas is in place, with a further €45m (£39.9m) required to force through the sale of the 25-year-old.
João Moutinho, Porto's 24-year-old midfielder, may also be on the Chelsea's radar though Da Costa added: "We have not received offers for any of our players."
Villas-Boas guided Porto to the domestic double and the Europa League last season, emulating a feat of José Mourinho – who also won a European Cup – whom he had followed to Stamford Bridge in 2004 to work as a scout.
While Villas-Boas, who was also said to be on Internazionale's wanted list, will reportedly be paid around £5m a year, Guus Hiddink may not be joining him at the Bridge despite talks about becoming either the coach or director of football.
The Dutchman could consider becoming the next coach of Inter, with the incumbent, Leonardo, expected to join Paris Saint-Germain. Cees van Nieuwenhuizen, the agent of Hiddink, now in charge of Turkey, said he "would evaluate" any offer from Inter should it materialise.
"We have never spoken to [president Massimo] Moratti," Van Nieuwenhuizen told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Hiddink has a contract with the Turkish federation and therefore before any talks can begin, Moratti must contact the federation and say he is interested in Guus.
"He is contracted until 2012 so, for the time being, there is no possibility that he can coach Inter.
"If Inter reached an agreement with Turkey? Well at that point Hiddink would certainly evaluate the Nerazzurri offer but he is a professional and he has never broken a contract in his whole career."