Ranieri would stay in England

Claudio Ranieri has made it clear that he wants to remain in the Premiership when he leaves Chelsea at the end of the season.

The Italian's advisers expect to have a clearer indication next week - after tomorrow's game against Manchester United - as to the terms of his departure from Stamford Bridge. He expects to receive a pay-off of around £6m due to the generous terms of his last contract which was negotiated with former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates. And although Ranieri, 52, has continually insisted that he wants to stay and "finish the job he has started", he is resigned to his fate.

Preferably he would remain in London - which opens up the prospect of a move to Tottenham Hotspur - although Ranieri has said he would not rule out any club in England which, he believes, shares his ambition.

Spurs have previously shown little interest in Ranieri, but it is understood that they may approach him if they fail to land their number-one target which remains Martin O'Neill after the change of heart by Italy's coach Giovanni Trapattoni. Even though it would be an arrangement of convenience, rather than design, Ranieri would certainly fit the mould of a European-style coach - with responsibility solely for the first team - which the Spurs' chairman, Daniel Levy, is said to prefer.

Interestingly the Spurs striker Jermain Defoe made it clear yesterday that he would welcome Ranieri's appointment. "I think it is unbelievable that he will go from Chelsea," Defoe said. "He is a great manager and he has done well there. It is really strange and I don't think it is fair. But if Tottenham get Ranieri that will be great for the club because he is a great manager."

Yesterday Ranieri's advisers were insisting that he still hoped to stay at Chelsea. "We hope that he will be given more time," one said. However his agent, Jon Smith, confirmed last week that there have been "nine firm approaches so far from clubs in England and elsewhere" for his services.

This has led to fevered speculation with the names of Spanish giants Real Madrid, who are to part with their coach Carlos Queiroz after only a year, and Italain side Juventus, whose coach Marcello Lippi is stepping down, being mentioned.

Ranieri has also made no secret of his desire to one day coach the team he supports, and used to play for - Roma - although their coach Fabio Capello is unlikely to be going anywhere despite the financial problems at the club. He was also linked as a successor to Ranieri.

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