Chelsea were given approval by Porto to complete the final details in their deal with new manager Andre Villas-Boas yesterday although the English club were still refusing to admit that it was them who paid the £13.2m release clause in Villas-Boas's contract.
The club acknowledged in a statement that the release clause had been paid to Porto, suggesting that they had not paid it directly. The wording of their statement, that Chelsea "noted" the release clause had been paid – and did not admit they themselves had paid it – may well have been because a payment of that size has implications for the Uefa financial fair play regulations.
In a statement released at 7.15pm last night, Chelsea said: "We note that the release clause of Andre 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." There is little doubt that personal terms with Villas-Boas have already been agreed.
Since Villas-Boas announced his resignation earlier in the day it had been a matter of waiting for Porto to confirm to the Portuguese securities market commission that they had received the compensation in their manager's contract that would trigger its termination. When Porto finally did so they also announced that they had appointed Villas-Boas' assistant Vitor Pereira as his successor. Villas-Boas is expected to be given a three-year contract worth around £4.5m a year.
The 33-year-old former Chelsea scout is expected to bring with him from Porto another assistant, Jose Mario Rocha, and the opposition scout Daniel Sousa. He will join the club at the start of next month.
As of 7pm last night, Chelsea were still finalising their statement to announce officially Villas-Boas' arrival at the club. It caps a remarkable few days with Guus Hiddink eventually overlooked for a job that he appeared to be a certainty to get since the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti on the last day of the season. The 64-year-old Dutch coach is now being linked to the vacant Internazionale job.
From his time at Chelsea with Jose Mourinho, Villas-Boas is thought to have a good relationship with John Terry who remains an influential figure in the dressing room if not right at the top of the club's hierarchy.Reuse content