Roman ‘inclined to sack AVB’

Roman Abramovich is torn over whether to replace manager Andre Villas-Boas, according to the Daily Telegraph.

They believe Abramovich is inclined to sack him sooner rather than later but sources close to the Chelsea owner are lobbying for a reprieve for Villas-Boas – at least for the next few weeks and possibly until the end of the season.

The paper say former Liverpool boss Rafael Benítez is in pole position to replace Villas-Boas if he is dismissed but only on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Many believe AVB is close to the sack.

But The Sun say the main target of Abramovich’s discontent is Ashley Cole, who reportedly criticised his manager at a recent meeting.

A club insider is quoted as saying: “When the players question the manager, they are questioning the owner’s judgment. Andre Villas-Boas was Mr Abramovich’s personal choice.

“In the past, the senior players have sometimes got their way over an unpopular manager. But this time Mr Abramovich is fed up with their moaning.”

The Guardian, meanwhile, suggest that faith in Villas-Boas among the Chelsea hierarchy is eroding.

The Daily Mail declare that Chelsea outcast Frank Lampard will resist Villas-Boas’ attempts to force him out of the club because of a £1.5m loyalty bonus in his contract.

The Daily Mirror claim Lampard is wanted by Paris St-Germain’s former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti.

And the Daily Express say Villas-Boas plans to offload the likes of Lampard, Cole and Michael Essien and has set an age limit of 26 on the players he wants to sign this summer.

Eden Hazard, Theo Walcott and Gonzalo Higuain are said to be high on his list of targets. 

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