Andre Villas-Boas wants a “project” to re-enter football for, but will require a detailed knowledge of the terms and demands attached to the new Liverpool manager’s job before committing to the club.
Villas-Boas is emerging as a prime contender for the position vacated by the dismissal of Kenny Dalglish last week, with a meeting this week to involve him, his agent Carlos Goncalves and Liverpool ’s owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG).
But despite his interest in Liverpool and theirs in him – revealed by The Independent last Thursday - Villas-Boas will not be rushed. After his traumatic nine-month experience at Chelsea, he will seek assurances about the new structure FSG are putting in place and the resources available for what the Americans view as an entire restructuring after 18 months of ownership at Anfield. On his arrival yesterday at the Portuguese Cup Final between Academica and Sporting, the 34-year-old said: “I'm still choosing the right project and that decision will take the necessary time.” Of his former side’s winning the Champions League, he added: ”The biggest award is to win the Champions League. Congratulations to Di Matteo and the players.“
He and Roberto Martinez would appear to be front-runners at this stage. Liverpool have now made contact with the Wigan Athletic manager, who was scheduled to depart on holiday yesterday. He may break that holiday to meet FSG.
Villas-Boas has been extremely interested in the Liverpool manager’s position, ever since initial soundings were taken with Goncalves before Dalglish’s dismissal. It was made clear to him from the start that there would be other possible contenders, as the Americans embarked on their process of identifying a number of candidates. FSG first want to replace the successors to director of football Damien Comolli - rather than create the impression they are undermining the new manager by appointing them afterwards. The replacement of Comolli is likely to occur in the next two weeks, in line with the timeframe managing director Ian Ayre has put in place. There may even be Anfield executive appointments this week.
Didier Deschamps' representatives have indicated that he has not been approached by Liverpool, despite a desire to manage in England and the conclusion of a difficult season, from a personal perspective at Marseilles. The side have struggled and the fans have been on his back. Deschamps, who has two years left on his contract and who was approached by Liverpool before Roy Hodgson's appointment was confirmed, has not demonstrated the collegiate qualities FSG appear to be looking for, however. He has been unable to work with the director of football at Marseilles, José Anigo, with whom he has had a fractured relationship.