Chelsea Close In On Mourin… Sorry Villas-Boas

Chelsea have been looking for their fifth manager in just four years and it looks as if their search has now come to an end.

Enter 33-year-old Andre Villas-Boas aka “Mini-Mourinho”, the youngest coach ever to win a European Cup. The Portuguese manager has handed in his resignation to FC Porto and looks set to join The Blues imminently.

All that remains for the move to be completed is for Roman Abramovich to dip his hand into that bottomless wallet and cough up £13.5 million to activate the release clause in Villas-Boas’ contract.

The 33-year-old is hot property. Last season his Porto side went 31 games unbeaten, winning 16 of those games in a row and they went on to win the league by a record 21 points. As well as this they won the Europa League and domestic League Cup.

The similarities with Jose Mourinho are very clear to see. They both managed Porto with great success, Villas-Boas actually worked under Mourinho at Chelsea and Inter Milan and Sir Bobby Robson was a great influence on both men.

It was when he was at the age of just 16 that Villas-Boas first met Sir Bobby, back when he was manager of Porto himself. Sir Bobby saw potential in the youngster and made arrangements for him to be enrolled at Lilleshall to gain his FA coaching qualifications.

Villas-Boas recalled, “I started very young (17-years-old). In fact, I shouldn’t really have been there because the law doesn’t allow a minor to take coaching qualifications. But Bobby smoothed the way with Charles Hughes, the head of the Centre of Excellence, and I was allowed in to take my UEFA C badges.”

The fact that he started very young, and worked under some of the greatest managers in the world, does make up for Villas-Boas’ major flaw – his lack of experience at the top level.

He has only had two years of experience of coaching, granted they have been a very successful two years, and unlike most managers he never played football at a top level. Villas-Boas concedes: “I would have loved to have played at the highest level but I wasn’t good enough, so I turned to coaching.”

This lack of experience isn’t really that great a deal though. He has worked in football for practically his entire life and his knowledge is of a high level, high enough for Sir Bobby Robson to take time to debate with him.

The fact he has already worked at Chelsea and with the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba is purely of benefit to him. In addition to this during his time at Chelsea he was credited with being Mourinho’s “eyes and ears” and his attention to detail was said to be fantastic.

What he does need however is time. If he doesn’t win the Champions League, Premiership, League Cup and FA Cup all in his first season then Chelsea shouldn’t fire him. You may laugh but their manager record of late isn’t exactly impressive.

What they should do is give him some time and ensure that the players brought in are the players he wants and that he has control over the team selection and tactics, the guy obviously knows his stuff.

If he does join the London Club the contract is said to be worth £4.5 million a year along with a limitless transfer fund. Roman Abramovich really does want that Champions League trophy doesn’t he?

James Haggis

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