The thing about being appointed manager of Chelsea is this: It’s all about the money. And everyone, it seems, has their price – as we are about to find out with the latest lottery winner being asked to walk the precarious plank to the Bridge, Porto coach Andre Villas-Boas.
The media have dubbed him The Special One Mark 2 because the 33 year-old was part of Jose Mourinho’s backroom staff at Porto, following him to Chelsea and then Inter Milan. But since then Villas-Boas has made his mark in the hot seat at Porto, winning the treble of domestic League, Portuguese SuperCup and Europa League in his first season.
He did go on record as saying he wanted to stay at Porto and had no intention of going to Chelsea beacuse he did not want to be compared to his old boss Mourinho, with whom he has plenty in common. Neither man has played the game at a serious level and both have always been dedicated to the art of being a coach. Both are winners and have a habit of making big statements as Villas-Boas did when he originally said he would not be joining Chelsea’s managerial conveyorbelt.
But money talks. Impulsive Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is ready to pay the £13.2 million get out clause written into Villas-Boas’ contract with Porto and then pay him the going rate of at least six million a year to win trophies every season with Chelsea. Note the job description is all about winning trophies. And by the way that must include the Champions League or you’re fired – and only Lord Sugar can match Abramovich in dishing out that famous line.
good while it lasted: Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich
The Russian billionaire has already been through seven managers in the last seven years, if you count the seven day reign of Ray Wilkins after World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked in 2008. The others are Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti.
If he has the bottle to go through with it, the new man in the Chelsea hotseat knows that while money is no object, time is a rare commodity that does not exist in SW6. At the age of 33 Villas-Boas will face a race against the clock and his first big hurdle will be to work out how to tackle the player power of a dressing room where the likes of John Terry clearly have more power than is healthy for a top club to succeed.
The question is will the appointment of Mourinho’s protégé be the start of a new era, or simply more proof, four years after his departure, that Abramovich made the biggest mistake of his life when he parted company with the original ‘Special One’?