Blues pay up to land Villas-Boas
Chelsea last night paid Porto £13.3m to make Andre Villas-Boas their new manager and the most expensive coaching appointment in football history.
At 33, Villas-Boas is also poised to become the youngest Premier League manager and the seventh incumbent at Stamford Bridge since Roman Abramovich bought the club eight years ago.
A formal announcement is expected from Chelsea today, but it is understood that personal terms on an initial two-year contract, with the option of a third season, at an annual wage of £5m have already been verbally agreed.
"We note that the release clause of Andre Villas-Boas has been activated," said a Chelsea statement. "We can confirm our interest in him and hope to reach agreement with him on personal terms and make a further announcement in the near future."
Villas-Boas has the challenge of managing a dressing-room that is full of imposing personalities, but he worked successfully with the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba at Chelsea between 2004 and '07.
According to sources in Portugal, he has already made contact with senior members of the Chelsea squad, who encouraged him to take the job.
Villas-Boas is expected to bring two members of staff from his Porto coaching team, including the scout who compiles the opposition dossiers that he made his speciality at Chelsea.
He will join the club at the start of next month and will spend a few days with the players before being introduced to the media around July 7.
An attempt to bring his assistant Vitor Pereira, however, has failed, with Porto promptly appointing him as their successor to Villas-Boas. Abramovich will recommend that Villas-Boas retains Michael Emenalo, who is the assistant first-team coach at Chelsea.
There is now an expectation that Chelsea will attempt to sign Colombia international Falcao and Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho from Porto.
The club's president Pinto da Costa, however, has resolved not to sell any of the Porto squad to Chelsea for less than their release clause. That puts hefty price tags on both players.
The priority is expected to be Falcao, who scored 17 goals in the Europa League last year, although Villas-Boas will also still consider keeping both Drogba and Fernando Torres.
Porto have refused to negotiate with Chelsea throughout the recruitment process and simply communicated that Villas-Boas would be released from the club once the required compensation had been paid.
Chelsea had hoped to first speak with Porto and negotiate a fee, but that proved impossible and they eventually paid the £13.3m release clause yesterday.
Earlier in the day, Villas-Boas had faxed a letter of resignation to Porto. There were suggestions in Portugal that Villas-Boas had personally paid the release clause, but it is understood that the money came from Chelsea.
"I didn't want to talk to Chelsea," said Da Costa. "I just wanted confirmation that the money was in our bank account. He leaves with my blessing. I wish him the best. I'm not angry with him. I wish him luck.You only have to look at his results to know how good a manager he is."
There is a feeling in Porto that contact was first made between Chelsea and Villas-Boas around the time of the Europa League final last month.
Villa-Boas previously spent more than three years at Chelsea as the assistant scout under Jose Mourinho and has since established himself as one of the most promising managers in Europe. In just one season at Porto, he won four trophies, including a domestic treble and the Europa League.
Comparisons with Mourinho have followed Villas-Boas throughout his career, but he has the reputation of being less flamboyant off the pitch and more adventurous with his players on it. He has a grandmother from Staffordshire and speaks fluent English.
The future role, if any, at Chelsea of Guus Hiddink remains unclear. The Dutchman has been an unpaid adviser since being replaced as manager by Carlo Ancelotti in 2009 and had initially been regarded as the frontrunner for the job. (© Daily Telegraph, London)