Deschamps interested in Chelsea

Grant sacked as manager

Former Juventus coach Didier Deschamps says he is on the short-list to succeed sacked Avram Grant as Chelsea manager.

Deschamps, 39, was in Chelsea’s FA Cup-winning side of 2000 and as a coach led Monaco to the 2004 Champions League final and Juventus back into Serie A.

He told Monaco-based radio station RMC: “Three or four managers are on the list and I am one of them. It would be hard to refuse Chelsea.”

The agents of Roberto Mancini and Guus Hiddink say they are not in contention.

Deschamps captained France to their World Cup triumph in 1998 and victory in Euro 2000, and is now waiting to make his comeback after a break from the game since leaving Juventus in May 2007.

He added: “I want to return to coaching. I needed to rest, but I feel capable of achieving good things now.

“Breaking back into management is complicated because there are not always the opportunities, but the Chelsea position is now free. I am flattered to be considered a possible candidate for the role.

“They sacked their manager not because of the results they achieved, but because of their wish to play a more attacking, attractive style of football in the next few years.

“They are a very big club, that I know well. We will see over the next few days how it goes but any big-name manager who is available would interest them.”

Frank Rijkaard is likely to be one of the names on Chelsea’s short-list, having left his post as Barcelona coach recently.

But Inter Milan coach Mancini and Russia boss Hiddink have been both been ruled out by their respective agents.

Mancini’s agent Maurizio De Giorgis told BBC Radio 5 Live that Mancini would be staying at the San Siro for “the next four years”, despite speculation that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will succeed him.

“He’s very happy to stay, the president is very happy, they’re going to have a meeting to discuss strategy in the new transfer window,” De Giorgis said.

Hiddink’s agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen told BBC Sport that the Dutchman is planning for the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Hiddink, 61, only has a verbal agreement to remain in charge of Russia beyond the Euro 2008 finals but Van Nieuwenhuizen says he will stay on.

Hiddink has a formidable record at club and international level, having taken Holland and South Korea to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

He is known to have a strong relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is believed to have played a key role in his appointment as Russia boss in 2006, as well as helping to fund his salary.

Hiddink is yet to sign a new deal to stay on with Russia but BBC Radio 5 Live football correspondent Jonathan Legard said: “His agent says there is nothing suspicious about the unsigned contract.

“And his relationship with the Russian Football Federation is good, even if Hiddink himself expressed concern last week that the issue could become a distraction.

“By contrast, Hiddink’s fellow countryman Frank Rijkaard is readily available and may not object as much as (former boss) Jose Mourinho eventually did to Abramovich’s football involvement, which is reckoned to be as much as 30% of on-the-pitch activity by Richard Bevan of the League Managers’ Association.”

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, and former Chelsea boss Mourinho have also been mentioned as possible candidates.