English Premiership

Hiddink to replace Ancelotti?

2011-05-23 15:36
Guus Hiddink (File)
London - The agent of Guus Hiddink has refused to rule out the Dutchman returning to frontline club management amid reports he is the No 1 target to succeed Carlo Ancelotti as Chelsea boss.

However, Cees van Nieuwenhuizen warned the earliest Hiddink would currently be available would be October as he would not break his contract with Turkey.

There have been suggestions Hiddink was opposed to resuming a career in club management, with the 64-year-old more interested in becoming a sporting director.

But pressed over whether that was definitely the case, Van Nieuwenhuizen said: "I don't know that you can say that.

"He is focusing on his job and he likes what he is doing.

"He said also in his column on Saturday in De Telegraaf, the Dutch newspaper, that as long as he is in the race for the European Championship with Turkey, he would continue to focus on that.

"Once that is finished, he will start thinking about his future."

Hiddink, who saved Chelsea's season when he won the FA Cup as caretaker-boss two years ago, is contracted to Turkey until the end of Euro 2012 but will leave his position immediately if they fail to qualify.

They currently lie third in Group A and face a crucial match with second-placed Belgium on June 3.

Defeat would leave them four points adrift of a play-off spot with four games remaining and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could be sacked.

The Turkish Football Federation recently said they would not look favourably on an approach for Hiddink, meaning Chelsea could be faced with the dilemma of waiting for him to become available - and appointing an interim manager - or looking elsewhere.

Van Nieuwenhuizen said: "I think that Chelsea has to make a decision in the shorter term rather than waiting until November."

The Blues would also need to establish for certain whether the Dutchman would prefer to move into a sporting director role.

If so, they would face competition from Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, with the former club having already approached Hiddink about taking a place on their board.

Van Nieuwenhuizen said: "Johan Cruyff has also already spoken to him a couple of times in the last couple of months, because Johan is right now restructuring at Ajax.

"He has been saying, 'Maybe we can do this together'.

Hiddink revealed in his column on Saturday that he was still acting as an adviser to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Van Nieuwenhuizen said: "I know that he has a very good relationship with some people at Chelsea and that he is every now and then talking to Roman Abramovich - but more out of a friendship that was based on the months that they spent together."

Van Nieuwenhuizen insisted he knew nothing of reports Hiddink had recommended Marco van Basten to Abramovich as an alternative to himself as manager but confirmed the fellow Dutchmen were in touch.

"They meet each other every now and then," he said.

That was backed up by Van Basten's agent Perry van Overeem, who said: "They know each other well.

"But it's a professional relationship."

Van Overeem confirmed there had been no approach from Chelsea for former Holland player and manager Van Basten, who has been out of work since leaving Ajax two years ago and is currently mulling over more than one offer to return to the game.

The other name heavily touted as successor to Ancelotti - who was sacked barely and hour after yesterday's final game of the season at Everton - is Porto sensation Andre Villas-Boas.

The 33-year-old distanced himself from the job after winning the Europa League on Wednesday night and he reportedly has a 15million-euro (£13million) release clause in his contract.

Meanwhile, it is understood Ancelotti was informed of his fate in the privacy of the visitors' dressing room at Everton once it had become vacant.

There have been reports the Italian was sacked in a corridor by chief executive Ron Gourlay but this was not the case.

The popular Ancelotti travelled back with the squad from Goodison Park before saying his farewells at the club's Cobham training base and going out for the evening with a few senior players and members of staff.
 

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