Blues set to clinch Jose.
The in-demand Portuguese coach was set to fly into London today to complete the formalities of his move to Chelsea following the departure of manager Claudio Ranieri last night.
Mourinho is almost certainly the man Roman Abramovich will entrust with bringing top honours to Stamford Bridge. The 40-year-old has great pedigree, after leading Porto to Champions League glory last week.
He admitted in the immediate aftermath of his team's 3-0 win over Monaco in Gelsenkirchen that it was mission complete with Porto, and Chelsea have now cleared the way for him by announcing Ranieri's departure.
A statement from the club read: "Chelsea Football Club today announced that Claudio Ranieri is to leave the club.
"Claudio has done a first-class job for the club and paved the way for future success. We would like to wish Claudio all the best for the future."
The Italian took Chelsea to second place in the Premiership and to the semi-finals of the Champions League but his departure indicates that was considered a failure - putting incredible pressure on Mourinho if he does become manager.
For Ranieri that pressure has now been lifted and his representative Jon Smith said: "We are negotiating the terms of the settlement."
Smith revealed that Ranieri was keen to stay in this country, and was expecting offers to be coming in for his client.
"Claudio loves England and if it is possible for him to stay here then he will."
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|Title Annotation:||Sport Football|
|Publication:||Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2004|
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