Porto deny Andre Villas-Boas bound for Chelsea
Chelsea remain confident a new manager will shortly be in place - with Porto insisting as yet there has been no official offer to trigger Andre Villas-Boas' €15 million release clause.
The Blues are seeking to replace Carlo Ancelotti, who was unceremoniously axed at the end of last season, just 12 months after guiding the west London club to an historic double.
Guus Hiddink - who enjoyed a successful spell as caretaker boss in 2008/2009 and continues to hold a close relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich - emerged as the leading candidate to return to Stamford Bridge.
However, despite the Blues said to be ready to meet the £4million compensation demands of the Turkish Football Federation to allow Hiddink's departure, it now appears the veteran Dutchman could be set for a sporting director role rather than going back into hand-ons management.
Villas-Boas, 33, would certainly fit the bill for an up-and-coming coach to work with the first team and is no stranger to Stamford Bridge, having worked there under Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese coach has seen his stock rise after guiding the Dragons to domestic and Europa League success last season.
Chelsea, though, will not be drawn on any specific candidate. A club spokesman confirmed: "We hope to be able to make an announcement regarding the new manager in the next few days or so, but until then we will not be commenting further on the speculation surrounding that appointment."
Porto, though, felt it necessary to react to stories in the Portuguese media this morning suggesting a deal had already been done for Villas-Boas' release and that he was on his way to London.
In a statement to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMCM), the club said: "FC Porto, at the request of the CMVM, hereby informs the market that the coach Andre Villas-Boas, as well as several players, has a termination clause.
"To date, we have not received any communication that this clause will be exercised, nor of the agreement of the coach that is desired."
Yet despite their determination to keep hold of Villas-Boas, president Pinto da Costa admitted the club could not prevent their manager from leaving should certain financial conditions be met.
"Villas-Boas has a contract and a clause of 15million euros," he confirmed.
"If someone deposits 15million euros into our account and he wants to go, we can not do anything because it is something that is contractually specified."
Villas-Boas, who was reportedly also on Inter Milan's wanted list, would dramatically increase his salary with a move back to Chelsea as head coach, with reports suggesting as much as £4.4m-a-year on offer for the man expected to deliver the Champions League title.
One of his first signings could be to bring Porto's star striker Falcao to Stamford Bridge along with him, the £25m-rated Colombian having impressed as the Dragons won the Europa League final at Dublin's Aviva Stadium, where the 25-year-old netted the only goal against Braga.
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