Chelsea are not the only club apparently chasing a new coach for next season. Away from the speculation surrounding Claudio Ranieri's future - which will not die down even after Sven Goran Eriksson's commitment to England - the Sunday Mirror says Liverpool have lined up a replacement for Gérard Houllier.
It says the Anfield board have sounded out the Porto coach, Jose Mourinho, about taking over from the Frenchman. The fluent English speaker, who entered coaching only after working as translator for Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, has taken the Portuguese club to the Champions' League quarter-finals after winning the Uefa Cup last season.
However, the People reckons Mourinho is also the target for Tottenham, along with Ranieri, with their chairman, Daniel Levy, reportedly tired of waiting for Italy's coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, to make up his mind about moving to White Hart Lane. The same paper believes Mark Hughes will quit his Wales job if a Premiership club comes in for him but says Tottenham, who had him in mind to be No 2 to Trapattoni, do not see him as ready for the top job. The Mirror says Tottenham are ready to make a formal offer to Ranieri, believing their chances of snaffling Martin O'Neill are receding.
The same paper also claims Houllier is so confident he will still be in charge at Anfield next season he has already drawn up a shopping list, naming Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips as a £10m target, even though £14m has already been committed to signing the France striker Djibril Cissé from Auxerre. The Werder Bremen midfielder Johan Micoud and Sheffield United's Michael Tonge are also in his sights, apparently.
Newcastle are said by the News of the World already to be looking beyond next season and have earmarked Steve Bruce as Sir Bobby Robson's successor.
With a view to making a real challenge for honours next season, Robson is said by the Mirror to be chasing Birmingham's on-loan Chelsea striker Mikael Forssell and the Leeds striker Alan Smith. The People says Newcastle believe £5m will persuade Chelsea to part with the Finn, who is unlikely to advance himself in the Stamford Bridge pecking order.
Indeed, Forssell could be further still from a first-team place if Chelsea's Roman Abramovich lands the player the News of the World reckons is his top summer target. The Russian is said to be ready to test Milan's resolve with a world record-smashing £80m bid for Andriy Shevchenko. But the News of the World says that the big spending will not stop at Chelsea if Arsenal's plans to sell off naming rights to their new stadium yield the expected windfall. The Gunners are looking for a 30-year deal worth £10m a year which would give Arsène Wenger the green light to compete for the biggest names in the world.
Peter Reid could become Plymouth's manager, according to the News of the World, which claims Darlington have talked to Kenny Dalglish about becoming their director of football.
The People says Aston Villa and Birmingham will compete for Leicester's Muzzy Izzet, while the News of the World says Bolton have confirmed their interest in Marseille's Abdoulaye Meite.
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