Fabio Capello in the mix to become next Liverpool manager
Former England manager interested but behind Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Martinez in pecking order
Fabio Capello would be interested in the manager's position at Liverpool, though he is waiting to see if the club's American owners want to give him the opportunity to stake his claim for the position vacated by Kenny Dalglish.
Fenway Sports Group have not yet contacted the 65-year-old, which suggests that both Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Martinez are higher up the group's order of possible candidates. It is understood Martinez had initial contact from Liverpool on Sunday and is thought to be preparing to fly to the owners' Boston base on Thursday.
Nevertheless, the possibility of Capello receiving a call from the Liverpool managing director, Ian Ayre, should not be ruled out and, with FSG still going through the process of contacting managers, the Italian is a possible contender.
The only approaches Capello and his representatives have received so far have been from agents, offering to act as go-betweens with Liverpool. Capello's team have told them that if they bring a deal to their table then they will consider it. The former England manager's stance appears to be far more positive, from a Liverpool perspective, than the majority of continental managers who have been connected with the job since Dalglish was dismissed last Thursday. The Ajax manager Frank de Boer and Marseilles' Didier Deschamps both formally rejected the idea of taking charge of Liverpool yesterday, yet Capello is looking for a project. He accepts that his next role does not necessarily have to be at a Champions League club and he has always viewed Liverpool as one of the big English jobs.
Capello saw the club in the same bracket as Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in the summer of 2007 when out of work and looking for his next move. But Rafael Benitez had just taken Liverpool to the Champions League final and, after calls came from Major League Soccer in the United States as well as from Australia and Asia, Capello sat tight and waited for the England national job.
With Anfield's principal owner John W Henry and his compatriots yet to meet any prospective manager, the greatest momentum does appear to be with Martinez and Villas-Boas,however. Villas-Boas has not added publicly to the statement he offered on Sunday afternoon when arriving to watch the Portuguese Cup final between Academica and Sporting, at the invitation of Academica – one of his former clubs.
The 34-year-old said then: "I'm still choosing the right project and that decision will take the necessary time". It is understood that the former Chelsea manager's approach to this opportunity is one of very cautious interest. Villas-Boas knows he will not win the title immediately with Liverpool. But he also realises that potentially he has more to lose than to win at Anfield, because a second failure in England would render the Premier League closed to him.
Always conscious of mapping out his career path, the Portuguese wants a stable environment where he has room to breathe. It seems that a meeting between him and FSG in Boston would involve the Americans doing some of the work to persuade him that Liverpool is that secure place in which to rebuild his career.
He will know that Liverpool's commercial destiny still hangs to a huge extent on the very uncertain prospect of whether they can move forward quickly with a new stadium, or with the redevelopment of Anfield. Ayre has reported progress with Anfield residents who pose an impediment to the latter option, though the club are not there yet.
"It's all right for people to say 'Liverpool's a big football club – 60,000 seats, why don't you just go and get on with it?" said Ayre last Thursday. "Go and look at the economics of that – of a £300m build for 15,000 new seats. It's pretty hard to make that stack up. A decision will be announced when we've got certainty."
The position at Roma has also interested Villas-Boas, though that carries baggage with a relatively old side to rebuild, much as Chelsea were when Villas-Boas arrived there last summer. Overall the picture remains deeply confused, with suggestions that Martinez may be destined for Aston Villa, rather than Liverpool, still not entirely extinguished last night. With Liverpool clearly not an alluring prospect to every continental manager, Capello has some reason to believe the call may come.
Milan (1987, 1991-96, 1997-98)
Serie A title: 4 (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996),Supercoppa Italiana: 3 (1992, 1993, 1994),European Cup: 1994, UEFA Super Cup: 1994, Coppa Italia: 1998
Real Madrid (1996-97, 2006-07)
La Liga: 2 (1997, 2007), Supercopa de Espana: 1997
Serie A: 2 (2005, '06 – both revoked)
Qualification for World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012
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