Chelsea have met Carlo Ancelotti to determine whether the Milan coach still wants to swap San Siro for Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea officials met Ancelotti and his representatives last night seeking assurances from the Italian that he still intends become the next manager of the west London club.
Chelsea have been concerned by indications in Italy that Ancelotti, Milan’s manager of eight years, is having doubts about quitting the Serie A club.
“We are finishing the season very well, results are coming and we are more consistent,” said the Italian yesterday.
“I am AC Milan’s manager and I will be doing this job for some time.”
The 49-year-old has an option in his contract at the Italian club, which expires in June, for a further season but had seemed to indicate he was attracted by the prospect of a move to England. According to reports he had begun an intensive English language course in preparation for his switch to the Premiership. Yet having been impressed by his side’s recent improvement he may now be tempted to sign a contract extension at Milan that would commit his future to the club until 2012.
Chelsea had been convinced last month that they had secured the Italian’s services after an initial round of pre-contract discussions. Talks had even been held, and agreement reached, over his proposed salary at Stamford Bridge.
However, given the ambiguity in Ancelotti’s recent statements Chelsea were moved to call for a meeting.
“I’m not going to Chelsea,” he said last month. “I will stay on for next season at least, and we are already working towards strengthening the squad. I am used to all the reports, and they will probably continue, but it’s not a problem.”
He followed that on Sunday, following the 1–1 draw with Juventus, by stating: “The time has not yet come for me to be replaced at Milan. It’s easier to win in Europe with Milan than with other clubs, so I am staying here.”
Chelsea’s caretaker boss Gus Hiddink retains almost total support within the Chelsea dressing room, although the players resigned to losing the Dutchman at the end of the month.
“It will be sad,” said Ashley Cole. “A lot of the players hope that it won’t be his last game, but I think that’s what’s going to happen. It would be nice to send him off with the Cup. I really like him – he’s a great guy. But I know it’s not going to happen. All the players would love him to change his mind, but it’s not down to us. We are going to miss him.”