Hiddink front-runner to see Chelsea through the season (Lead)

February 10th, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

ChelseaLondon, Feb 10 (IANS) Russia coach Guus Hiddink said that he was in talks with Chelsea to see the London club through as the manager until the end of the season but also wanted to continue his present role with the national team.

Hiddink is not happy with his current employers over the late payment of his wages and that prompted him to express his interest in taking over as Chelsea coach after Luis Felipe Scolari was sacked.

“I must say this is an exceptional situation. If it was any other club aside from Chelsea, my answer would be a straight ‘No’. But Chelsea is different because I have good relations with the (club) owner. So, I would like to help them in this situation if I could,” Enmglish media quoted Hiddink as saying.

Hiddink has a friendly relationship with the Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. However, the Dutchman remains “focused” on the task of leading Russia to the 2010 World Cup. The head of the Russian Football Union Aleksey Sorokin has admitted that there were some delays in paying Hiddink his salary because of the financial crisis. Hiddink is paid about $3 million per year by Russia’s National Football Academy - which is in turn funded by Abramovich.

Asked whether he would work as a consultant with Chelsea, Hiddink said: “No, this would be a full managerial role, a day-to-day job. But this would only be for the next two or three months until the end of the season. Of course when Russia would play (World Cup qualifiers) I would go there to coach them during that (international window) as there won’t be any (league) games during that time. I have already done that (combining two jobs) a couple of years ago when I was coaching Australia and PSV (Eindhoven), so I’m familiar with the situation and what it takes.”

Hiddink also said he was fully committed to helping Russia to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals.

“I will not leave my job with the Russian national team. It’s out of the question. When I took the Russia job, it was a long-term project and I don’t like to leave it unfinished,” he said.

Besides Hiddink, his compatriot Frank Rijkaard and Roberto Mancini are among the initial front-runners while former coach Avram Grant, who was assistant to Jose Mourinho at the London club, is also understood to be a back-up option.

Grant took over after Mourinho departed and was sacked in the aftermath of the Champions League final defeat against Manchester United.

Rijkaard is jobless after leaving Barcelona last summer and his agent, meanwhile, insists his client would “consider” the Chelsea manager’s job and would not be scared off by the ruthless reputation of club owner Abramovich.

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