Chelsea launch manager search

23 May 2011 08:00

Chelsea wasted no time kicking off their search for a new manager after sacking Carlo Ancelotti barely an hour after their final game of the season.

The Blues will start next term with their seventh manager in the last eight years, with Ancelotti given the boot in the wake of Sunday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Everton.

Guus Hiddink - who had a successful spell as caretaker manager two years ago - is reportedly owner Roman Abramovich's number one target, with Porto's Andre Villas-Boas also heavily touted. But securing either of them will not be easy, with Turkey boss Hiddink reportedly reluctant to re-enter frontline club management and Villas-Boas tied down by a prohibitively high release clause.

That could open the door for a raft of other candidates, with whoever takes over faced with several crucial decisions.

The first will be how much surgery to perform on the club's squad, which finished the season looking decidedly unbalanced.

Having spent £50million on Fernando Torres, it would appear the new manager must at least attempt to build the team around the Spaniard, who has proven something of a misfit since his January arrival. Players capable of getting the best out of the striker would be the priority, with those surplus to requirements moved on.

Chelsea's squad is also not getting any younger and securing long-term replacements for the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba is essential.

But any rebuilding must be completed against the backdrop of billionaire Abramovich's ruthless ambition, as Ancelotti discovered in the most brutal fashion on Sunday night.

The Italian was denied the meeting he was expecting with the club's hierarchy next week and was instead given his marching orders by chief executive Ron Gourlay at Goodison Park.

Press Association Sport understands that was pre-planned, with the club keen to resolve any uncertainty about Ancelotti's future before the players went on holiday next week. The timing of Ancelotti's sacking was the only real surprise, with the 51-year-old appearing a dead man walking at Stamford Bridge for several weeks.

Source: PA