According to Thursday reports in the British media, Israeli coach Avram Grant may make a brief comeback as the head coach of Chelsea football club as early as next week.
Grant, 57, is reportedly being considered by the London club’s owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, as a possible replacement for current coach Rafael Benitez, who announced Wednesday that he would leave the club — which is ranked fourth in England’s Premier League — by the summer.
Benitez was due to conclude his term this summer anyway, but, after blowing up at Chelsea fans and publicly denouncing the club’s management Wednesday, the Spanish coach may well be relieved of his position within the next few days.
“Every game they continue singing and preparing banners, they are wasting their time,” a frustrated Benitez said Wednesday, adding that supporters had an “agenda” against him. “What they have to do is support the team.”
Benitez has effectively been undermined ever since he agreed to take over as the replacement of popular former Chelsea coach Roberto di Matteo.
Grant, a personal friend of Abramovich, took over from Jose Mourinho as manager of Chelsea in 2007 and succeeded in bringing the team to the finals of both the English League Cup and the European Champions League. However, Grant ultimately failed to bring home either of the trophies, and was fired shortly thereafter.
Rumors say the same Mourinho is lined up to take the reins of Chelsea again next season, after being at the helm of Spanish club Real Madrid in 2010.
Since then, Grant has served as manager of Portsmouth and West Ham, but in both cases left the teams when they were relegated after bad seasons. He was also briefly manager of the Serbian team Partizan Belgrade. He left in May of this year and has since been residing in London, the perfect location for a comeback to Chelsea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report