Sportingo.com’s Phil Smith takes the lead on today’s Premier League hot gossip.Â
Now we know why Marco Van Basten was sitting behind Roman Abramovich at Old Trafford on Sunday with that smug, â€œguess why Iâ€™m here?â€ look on his face.
Just as every man and his dog knew that Avram Grant was the patsy put in place to calm all the hysteria after Jose Mourinhoâ€™s hasty departure from Chelsea, so it was abundantly clear that Bruce â€˜Pass Theâ€™ Buck and pistol-packinâ€™ Pete Kenyon had a second marked deck up their sleeves.
Van Basten is the man they really want at the helm, according to various sources, including The Sun. Thereâ€™s a bit of a European network in place here as top Italian boss Fabio Capello has spilled the beans on a very close Dutch alliance that will see Van Basten installed before poor old Avram Grant has chance to get his feet under his Stamford Bridge desk.
The catalyst to all this talk is Chelsea technical director Frank Arnesen who, it seems, is a big buddy of Van Bastenâ€™s from their early days together in Holland. Only snag at present is that Marco is boss of the Dutch national team and they wonâ€™t take too kindly to his release until the completion of the Euro 2008 qualifiers in November.
But if I were a betting man Iâ€™d be tempted to have a few quid on Van Basten in and Avram Grant out at Chelsea before Christmas.
One spot of good news for Chelsea is that Didier Drogba â€“ now back in training after his knee injury â€“ is prepared to see out his contract with the club. And that contract runs until 2010. He started the rumours of being unsettled by telling friends he was ready to leave Stamford Bridge when Mourinho walked out.
But now the dust has settled (well, not really settled but moved to another spot) he has told The Sun: â€œIâ€™m not considering quitting Chelsea, and I feel other players will feel the same way too.â€
But back to the managerial merry-go-round and news that is not likely to be welcomed in the Martin Jol household right now. Jurgen Klinsmann, according to various reports, wants to get back into club management.
We havenâ€™t heard much of the man who introduced the sliding-dive goal celebration at White Hart Lane a few seasons ago, and heâ€™s been fairly quiet since he resigned as manager of the German national team more than a year ago.
But now that heâ€™s thrown his hat into the ring again, we can expect an explosion of rumours linking him with Tottenham. According to the Daily Telegraph, the blond-haired former striker has been reluctant to uproot his family from their California home â€“ until now! Perhaps heâ€™s been reading the English papers and can hardly have missed all the stories linking him with Spurs and even Chelsea.
He says he â€œready for the next challengeâ€ and, with less subtlety, â€œIf the right opportunity comes along to work with the right people in the right situation and for the right cause, Iâ€™ll be back.â€ Which is player-speak for: â€œCome and get me!â€
And some good news for Aston Villa. Their deadline-day signing Moustapha Salifou will finally join up with the club after obtaining a work permit. The Togo international, who has signed a one-year deal, has been training with his former club FC Wil in Switzerland until clearance was received.