Guus Hiddink's coronation as the new Chelsea manager edged closer to completion yesterday as it became clear that his current employers, the Turkish football federation (TFF), were looking at ways that the Dutch coach could be moved on while realising the maximum value in compensation.
Following Friday's 1-1 draw with Belgium in their Euro 2012 qualifier in Brussels, there has been a gradual acceptance that Hiddink, 64, will have to leave but that has not changed the TFF's insistence, since Chelsea's interest became known, on £4m compensation. The club are reluctant to pay that money but will open talks this week.
The TFF has made it clear that it will not accept any less than the wages on the last year of his contract and it hopes that eventually Chelsea's need will be the greater, with the imperative for a manager in place this month ahead of the club's Far East tour next month. The TFF also points to the fact that in the past Chelsea have had no fear of paying compensation for the likes of Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti.
Yesterday the BBC quoted unnamed sources at the TFF who said that Hiddink's prime reason for leaving Turkey was the impending departure of the federation's president, Mahmut Özgener, who is not thought to be standing for re-election on 25 June. However, there is little question that Hiddink would have walked away from his £4m a year job over the TFF presidency were it not for the interest of Chelsea.
There is a general election in Turkey on Sunday which current prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK party are expected to win. Unofficially, the prime minister takes a close interest in his country's football governing body. The TFF presidential candidates are awaiting the outcome of this weekend's election to find out which of them is backed by the country's prime minister. Although the TFF election is ostensibly a democratic vote, it is accepted privately that the winner must have the prime minister's endorsement.
It would be unlikely – although not impossible – that Hiddink would be allowed to leave his post as coach of the Turkey national team before this Sunday's elections. The TFF spokesman said yesterday that both Özgener and Hiddink were away on holiday this week and that nothing would happen before the weekend. In Turkey there is already debate about who will succeed Hiddink as national team coach. One of the favourites is the 61-year-old coach Mustafa Denizli, who was in charge of Turkey when they reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2000.
The former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti distanced himself yesterday from the vacant managerial jobs at Aston Villa, Fulham and Roma, saying instead that he may well take a year out from the game. "I am in no hurry to coach and I don't need to," he told La Stampa.
"I have not been contacted by any club in England and I have not spoken to Roma," Ancelotti said. "It is all fantasy. I have enjoyed this experience [working in England]. I will return to London to organise my life. Besides a six-month break, I have been coaching non-stop since 1995. I will take a year off and look around, study how my colleagues work. I have always said, and I reiterate it, that one day I will coach Roma, but it's still early."
The former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez remains the favourite to succeed Gérard Houllier at Villa. Benitez, 51, is among a few being considered, including Roberto Martinez, of Wigan Athletic, and Bolton's Owen Coyle.Reuse content