Sunday 18 February 2018

Grant set for surprise move back to Blues

Jason Burt

Chelsea are considering an approach for Avram Grant to become their new director of football as part of a significant shake-up of the club's staff this summer.

Grant's future at West Ham will be reviewed at the end of this season and even if he avoids relegation, it is understood that it is far from certain he will stay, despite signing a four-year deal last June.

West Ham, who came close to sacking Grant and replacing him with Martin O'Neill in January, may decide that a parting of the ways is best for everyone given the difficulties of this campaign. Returning to Chelsea -- who offered Grant a job after he left Portsmouth -- would allow the 56-year-old to remain in English football.

With the future of manager Carlo Ancelotti also in doubt, Chelsea are considering a number of options as to how the club will be run after the end of this season. Grant is not in the running to become the next manager.

The impending departure of sporting director Frank Arnesen and Lee Congerton, who was effectively his deputy, to Hamburg, means that Chelsea have to undergo a reorganisation that will be directly overseen by Roman Abramovich. Congerton, the head of scouting, had been groomed as Arnesen's successor at Chelsea while two other senior associates of Arnesen, Hans Gilhaus and Guy Hilion, are also leaving.

Chelsea are already pushing to appoint Steve Rowley as their new chief scout, although it is understood he would prefer to remain at Arsenal, while there will be an enhanced role for the highly rated performance director Mike Forde.

Guus Hiddink is also on Chelsea's radar. He has endured a troubled time as the coach of Turkey, although the Dutchman has made it clear that he has no interest in returning to manage the club he took control of on a temporary basis after the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari.

He might, however, consider the director of football role, although it appears likely Chelsea will turn to Grant first if they are to make an appointment at all. It could be that the job is not offered to anyone as Chelsea review their options.

The club is in no hurry. That is because part of Abramovich's plan is for the Russian billionaire to take a more hands-on approach.

He involved himself directly with the January signings of Fernando Torres and David Luiz and also wants Chelsea to promote more talent through their academy. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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