Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Future Gets Cloudier for Ranieri as Jose Flies In

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Future Gets Cloudier for Ranieri as Jose Flies In

Article excerpt


CLAUDIO RANIERI remains manager of Chelsea this morning despite the club's very public attempts to recruit Jose Mourinho as his successor.

Ranieri met Roman Abramovich, Chelsea director Eugene Tenenbaum and chief executive Peter Kenyon at a Milan hotel yesterday but the Italian has yet to be told that he is about to be sacked.

Chelsea sources insist that the two-hour meeting was held to gain Ranieri's views on player retention and recruitment but there is little chance he will be around to see his words put into action next season. It is the second time such a meeting has been arranged in a matter of days.

It is being speculated that Mourinho will fly into London today to thrash out the final terms of a four-year deal said to be worth [pounds sterling]16million, making him one of the best-paid managers in the world.

The Porto coach has verbally agreed the contract at Stamford Bridge and should be named as Chelsea's new manager by next Tuesday.

Ranieri's fate has been widely known since his side crashed out of the European Cup earlier this month but the current series of meetings between the two parties suits both of them.

Chelsea need time to finalise the details for Mourinho, while Ranieri is being patient in order to secure a [pounds sterling]6m-plus payoff. Suggestions that these meetings, no matter how unorthodox, are being called to avoid the payoff by making the popular Italian's position untenable and causing him to walk out are wide of the mark.

Ranieri's agent, Vincenzo Morabito, and his UK representatives, Jon and Phil Smith, were kept out of the meeting that took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan.

But Morabito said after: "Claudio said the meeting was very pleasant. Until he is finally fired we cannot say anything, but there was no discussion about terminating his contract or about compensation. …

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