In an intriguing twist of fate, former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas could hold the key to both of his former Premier League employers’ summer transfer business, after being named the new coach of Russian outfit Zenit Saint Petersburg.
AVB won’t be in the dugout when his new charges attempt to defy colossal 33/1 odds by overturning a two-goal deficit from the home leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund, with Jurgen Klopp’s side 3/10 to turn the screw with another victory.
Villas-Boas’ move to Russia means he’s finally been reacquainted with Brazil striker Hulk, who played under the Portuguese during his hugely successful sole season in charge of Porto back in 2010/11.
The 36-year-old tried to sign Hulk while at Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane to no avail, but with both London clubs expected to renew their interest in the former Sao Paulo youth, the pair’s reunion may well be short lived.
Chelsea are clearly in pole position to sign the star ahead of their capital rivals, but with Spurs’ current managerial situation thought to be in a state of flux, there may be a way for Lilywhites chairman Daniel Levy to steal a march on Jose Mourinho and co.
Italian coach Luciano Spalletti was sacked by Zenit earlier this month in a somewhat inexplicable move, considering the former Roma chief had led the Gazprom-owned outfit to two Russian Premier League titles during his four-year tenure at the club.
Meshki had claimed credible home draws against European giants Porto and Atletico Madrid and were vying for top spot with Lokomotiv Moscow around the time of Spalletti’s sacking, while the 4-2 loss to Dortmund – last season’s losing Champions League finalists – at the Petrovsky Stadium was hardly shameful.
The two-time Coppa Italia winning manager’s achievements are clearly better appreciated on English shores as, according to The Daily Express, the 55-year-old is the new frontrunner to replace Spurs gaffer Tim Sherwood this summer.
This could be a shrewd move by Levy, as Hulk is thought to be dismayed by Spalletti’s departure and could agitate for a move away from Saint Petersburg – and into his old coach’s arms – this summer.