Gary Cahill insisted he was never going to turn down the chance to join Chelsea after finally completing his £7million move from Bolton on this day in 2012.

Cahill put the finishing touches to a reported five-and-a-half-year contract, having spent more than a fortnight wrangling over personal terms that threatened to scupper the deal.

But the England defender suggested he had no intention of walking away from the protracted negotiations between his representatives and Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay.

“Chelsea is a massive club, it is a club that looks to win trophies season in, season out and it is a big opportunity for me to be a part of that,” Cahill told the Blues’ official website at the time.

“Opportunities like this, you can’t turn down.”

Cahill reportedly settled on wages of £80,000-per-week – £20,000 less than the player was said to have demanded during initial talks.

He then travelled to London to undergo a medical and watched his new club’s 1-0 Premier League win over Sunderland.

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas said: “He has good technical abilities, which is important in the way we want to play and to implement our philosophy.

“Competition will be tight for him, but we brought him in to become better as a team.”

There were no shortage of admirers for Cahill, with Arsenal seeing a bid rejected and Tottenham also going close to landing him.

But Chelsea were the only serious January transfer window bidders, with Bolton opting to cash in on a player in the final six months of his contract.

Cahill spent seven-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge, making almost 300 appearances in all competitions and winning the Premier League twice, the Champions League, two FA Cups, two Europa League titles and the EFL Cup.

Tottenham took the gamble of confirming managerial novice Tim Sherwood as their new head coach on this day in 2013.

Sherwood had no experience at leading a club prior to assuming Spurs first-team duties one week earlier in the wake of Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking.

Yet after one defeat and one win, the Tottenham board had no trouble in supporting Sherwood to lead them further up the Premier League table, with the then 44-year-old appointed on a contract running to the end of the 2014-15 season.

The north London club had been expected to challenge for a top-four finish after a heavy outlay over the summer, yet they sat seventh in the table and were four points adrift of the Champions League places.

Villas-Boas was dismissed a day after a demoralising 5-0 home defeat against Liverpool, while Tottenham had also shipped six goals at Manchester City.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy admitted he was loath to dispense with the services of Villas-Boas, but gave his backing to Sherwood, who played for the club as a midfielder from 1999 until 2003.

Levy told the club’s official website: “We were extremely reluctant to make a change mid-season, but felt we had to do so in the club’s best interests.

“We have a great squad and we owe them a head coach who will bring out the best in them and allow them to flourish and enjoy a strong, exciting finish to the season.

“We are in the fortunate position of having within our club a talented coach in Tim Sherwood. We believe Tim has both the knowledge and the drive to take the squad forward.”

Sherwood oversaw Tottenham finishing sixth in the table in the 2013-14 campaign before parting ways with the club two days later, with Levy saying in a statement: “We agreed an 18-month contract with a break clause at the end of the season and we have now exercised that option.”

Andre Villas-Boas has spoken of the challenge faced by managers due to the increased use of data analysis, recalling it led to “massive, massive arguments” over the potential signing of Joao Moutinho when he was Tottenham head coach.

The Portuguese wanted to sign compatriot Moutinho from Porto in the summer of 2012, but the midfielder was only sixth on the list compiled using data and statistical analysis by then sporting director Franco Baldini.

Spurs pushed ahead with other targets, including Mousa Dembele, and only returned for Moutinho at the end of the summer transfer window, missing out on his signature by a minute.

With more and more clubs using data and artificial intelligence to identify targets, Villas-Boas knows the conundrum that managers will now begin to face.

“The most evident case I had when I was at Tottenham and I wanted to sign Joao Moutinho and he was sitting sixth on the list compiled by data people,” he said at Web Summit in Lisbon.

“The first on the list was Dembele, we ended up signing him and we almost ended up signing Moutinho as well, but we lost it against the clock on the last day of the transfer window.

“But it drained me emotionally to the point where, here was a guy that the data was not showing all that he represented from the coach’s perspective, which is a player that knows your leadership, a player that knows your style, adaptability to your style.

 

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“This can be quantified, but it must be done in the view of a coach and not a single view.

“This was the problem in the beginning and we mad massive, massive arguments in the beginning because of this with Moutinho.

“We signed Dembele but missed out on Moutinho and it was unfortunate because we were going to build up a very strong midfield.

“This is precisely where you have to have that balance to understand, what is your coaching philosophy and how it should be integrated into the data that has been provided to you.”

Villas-Boas has not been in work since leaving Marseille in 2021 and has forged a career as a rally driver while also spending time with his family.

The 46-year-old says he expects to remain out of the game until next year, when he could run for election as Porto’s president.

“Now is not the right moment to talk about going back,” he told the PA news agency. “At this time I am dedicating my time to my family.

“I have managed to find a break where I can dedicate myself to them 100 per cent and this is likely to be until June 2024. They deserve my presence.

“I have this objective of serving FC Porto as a president and at the moment it is going to go up for election in April or June 2024, so I always have the idea the present myself.”

Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge?

Lukaku's first taste of English football was with Chelsea between 2011-14.

He could be set for a Chelsea return amid doubts over his Inter future.

 

TOP STORY – TUCHEL WANTS LUKAKU

Chelsea are planning a move for Inter star Romelu Lukaku, according to The Guardian.

Lukaku, who joined the Blues in 2011 before leaving in 2014, is reportedly considering his future after Antonio Conte quit Inter amid the Serie A champions' troubled financial situation.

Inter quartet Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez, Achraf Hakimi – linked with Paris Saint-Germain – and Alessandro Bastoni could be sold by the Nerazzurri.

Chelsea are now eyeing a reunion with Real Madrid and Barcelona target Lukaku after winning the Champions League, while Tottenham's Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland are also on their radar.

 

ROUND-UP

Gianluigi Donnarumma is prepared to join Juventus on a worse contract than he rejected at Milan, reports Corriere dello Sport. Donnarumma is available on a free transfer and the Italy international has been linked with Barca, Manchester United and PSG. Mundo Deportivo says Barca consider Donnarumma a good market opportunity.

- Bild reports Florian Neuhaus will remain at Borussia Monchengladbach, despite interest from Bayern Munich.

Olivier Giroud will join Milan as a free agent from Chelsea, claims Calciomercato. Giroud is available after his contract was not renewed at Stamford Bridge.

- Lille's Christophe Galtier is the latest candidate to replace head coach Simone Inzaghi at Lazio, joining Maurizio Sarri, Andre Villas-Boas and Sinisa Mihajlovic, according to Tuttomercato. Inzaghi is poised to succeed Conte at Inter.

Jorge Sampaoli has been appointed as head coach of Marseille on a deal until June 2023.

The 60-year-old has enjoyed a nomadic coaching career, most notably leading Chile to Copa America glory in 2015 before departing to take charge at LaLiga side Sevilla in June 2016.

Less than a year later, Sampaoli left to take over his native Argentina but an uninspiring qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup preceded a last-16 defeat to eventual winners France in the tournament proper.

Spells at Santos and Atletico Mineiro followed, Sampaoli winning the Campeonato Mineiro with the latter, and he will now have another crack at European football in Ligue 1 with Marseille, who are eighth in the table.

"I have been told all my life that Marseille is a special place for passion. That the Velodrome lights up when the team plays in the stadium," said Sampaoli. 

"Marseille is a club for the people. We're not here to hide: we're going to play hard. When I received this proposal, I dreamed of being able to party in the city. 

"In the world, there are places for calm and there are intense places. It is the latter that I want and I accepted without hesitation. This club has a soul and that is why we are here. We are ready."

Andre Villas-Boas' reign at the Stade Velodrome ended in tempestuous circumstances with the former Chelsea boss suspended by the club earlier this month.

The Portuguese had offered to resign amid frustrations over the running of the club, which came to a head with Marseille's signing of Olivier Ntcham from Celtic, a player he did not ask to be brought in.

Andre Villas-Boas has been suspended by Marseille after the club accused the head coach of remarks that "seriously harmed" their reputation.

On Tuesday, the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss claimed he had offered to resign due to his frustrations with the running of the club, which came to a head with the signing of Olivier Ntcham, a player he did not ask to be brought in.

"I submitted my resignation saying that I did not agree with the sporting policy. I don't want anything from OM. I don't want money," he told a news conference.

"I'm waiting for an answer, it could be no and then we would continue. I don't want any money, I just want to leave."

Villas-Boas said he learned of the deal to sign midfielder Ntcham from Celtic "this morning from the press", adding: "He is a player that I had said no to. He was not on our list."

Those comments appear to have incensed Marseille bosses, who are now pursuing disciplinary action, which is likely to lead to Villas-Boas' dismissal. The Portuguese had previously stated he would not extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

"Olympique de Marseille announces the pending disciplinary proceedings of Andre Villas-Boas," the club said in a statement. "This decision has become unavoidable given the recent and repetitive actions and attitudes that have seriously harmed Olympique de Marseille and its employees who devote themselves to it on a daily basis.

"The remarks made today during a press conference in regard to Pablo Longoria, general manager in charge of football, are unacceptable.

"His exceptional achievements should not be questioned and, on the contrary, were welcomed by all during this winter transfer window which was affected by an unprecedented crisis. Possible sanctions may be taken against Andre Villas-Boas following disciplinary proceedings."

Marseille, who are ninth in Ligue 1, have won just one of their past eight top-flight matches and lost each of their previous three, a run that prompted angry fans to stage an attack on the training ground last weekend in protest against the club's running.

They were also knocked out of the Champions League group stage with just three points from their six games.

Villas-Boas had previously stated he would prepare the team for Wednesday's trip to Lens.

Andre Villas-Boas has offered his resignation at Marseille after the Ligue 1 club went against his wishes by signing Olivier Ntcham. 

Ntcham joined on loan until the end of the season from Celtic on deadline day despite Villas-Boas saying he did not want the player. 

The former Tottenham and Chelsea boss consequently felt his position was no longer tenable and offered to leave, citing a disagreement with Marseille’s sporting policy. 

Villas-Boas said the training ground being attacked by angry fans at the weekend "had nothing to do with it" and that he was awaiting a response from the club. 

"I submitted my resignation saying that I did not agree with the sporting policy. I don't want anything from OM. I don't want money," he told a news conference on Tuesday. 

"I'm waiting for an answer, it could be no and then we would continue. I don't want any money, I just want to leave. 

"[Signing Ntcham was] a decision that was not taken by me, I learned of it this morning from the press. He is a player that I had said no to. He was not on our list. 

"The results – it's my fault. I'm very upset. But if there's something you cannot touch, it's my professionalism. I cannot accept this. This club has already been through a couple of messy years in terms of transfers."

Marseille have won just one of their past eight Ligue 1 matches, with a 3-1 loss at Monaco last time out their third straight defeat. 

Their meeting with Rennes on Saturday was called off after fans stormed the training ground in protest. 

Villas-Boas accepted the club's request for time before making a decision on his resignation and he was still preparing the team for Wednesday's trip to Lens. 

"I'm focused on Lens. We continue until the board lets me go," he added. 

Marseille's Ligue 1 match with Rennes has been postponed after violent protests from supporters at the club's training ground.

A mob of Marseille fans breached the club's facilities on Saturday, seemingly in protest over the club's poor form and the leadership of president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

Andre Villas-Boas admitted on Friday that he expects to leave at the end of the season, with Marseille sitting way off the pace in Ligue 1.

Marseille have lost their last four matches in all competitions, and are without a win in as many league games.

Videos and images shared on social media of fans storming the club's training ground - where the players had gathered before they were due to face Rennes - also showed fires had been started, while L'Equipe also claimed that defender Alvaro Gonzalez was hit by a projectile.

Fans also left graffiti around the entrance, stating: "Eyraud out... Eyraud leave."

Marseille subsequently requested the postponement of their match with Rennes, which was scheduled to kick-off at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT).

The LFP, with the agreement of Rennes, approved the request, and it remains to be seen when the match will be played.

A statement on Ligue 1's official website read: "The match of the 22nd day of Ligue 1 Uber Eats between Olympique de Marseille and Stade Rennais FC has been postponed.

"Given the incidents that occurred this afternoon at the Olympique de Marseille training center, the OM – Stade Rennais FC match has been postponed to a later date."

Andre Villas-Boas expects to leave Marseille at the end of the season after the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss admitted to an "abysmal" failure.

The 43-year-old, who was appointed by OM in May 2019, will see his two-year contract expire at the end of this campaign.

Marseille sit 13 points behind Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain heading into the latest round of fixtures, occupying sixth place having lost their last three games in the competition.

Their Champions League performance was also far short of expectations, with Marseille finishing at the foot of their group with just three points.

Asked whether it looked as though he would leave in June, Villas-Boas said on Friday: "Yes, I think so. I don't have other information.

"But I'm not asking for anything, with the position we have, it's rather normal.

"With our performances this year, it's normal. It's true that it goes a bit against what the management said, but yes, I think it'll be the end.

"I think we all agree this is the path it's taking. Before, there was some noise, there were some talks between my agents and the club, now there's nothing."

Villas-Boas had hoped his team would be challenging PSG for the title, but instead they are outside the Europa League qualifying places.

Marseille sold midfielder Morgan Sanson to Aston Villa this week, while young winger Marley Ake left for Juventus and Kevin Strootman was loaned to Genoa.

Such exits may weaken Marseille for the remainder of the season, although they have signed Arkadiusz Milik on loan from Napoli and Franco Tongya arrived from Juventus.

"Guys, look, we're 15 points behind, which is an abysmal gap behind our season goal," Villas-Boas said.

"I'm not going to argue that. I told you that next season is Year Zero for the club, after all has been done, it's going to be deep cleaning.

"And it's good to create a strong base for the future."

Portuguese coach Villas-Boas had his big break when he served on Jose Mourinho's staff at Porto, Chelsea and Inter before striking out on his own.

After spells in Portugal with Academica and Porto, he had stints with Chelsea and Tottenham before moving on to Zenit and Shanghai SIPG, spending 18 months without a club prior to accepting the Marseille job.

Mauricio Pochettino acknowledged the role Thomas Tuchel played in his first managerial trophy as Paris Saint-Germain beat Marseille 2-1 in the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday.

Mauro Icardi and Neymar – the Brazil international's 18th successful penalty from the 19 he has taken for PSG – scored for the Ligue 1 champions, while Dimitri Payet set up a tense finale with an 89th-minute strike for Andre Villas-Boas' side. 

PSG held on, though, to claim a record eighth consecutive Trophee des Champions crown and their 10th overall midweek.

It was only Pochettino's third game in charge of PSG and the former Tottenham boss made sure he recognised the work of Tuchel, who was dismissed as head coach on December 29. 

"I want to thank the players, Leonardo [sporting director] and Nasser Al-Khelaifi [president]," Pochettino – a Champions League and EFL Cup runner-up with Spurs – said. "I also have a thought for Thomas Tuchel and his staff, who allowed us to play this match."

"We are making progress in all areas where we want to implement our ideas. We have a very intelligent group of players, with great adaptability. We are very happy.

"I hope to win other titles, but the first one will always be special.

"The group has shown a lot of maturity, it has learned from its mistakes. It's a huge emotion to win with this staff, it's difficult to describe in words, especially since it's a club that made me become a better person, a better player."

Marseille finished the game having had four shots on target to PSG's three, although the Parisians enjoyed a whopping 63.6 per cent possession and completed 268 more passes than their opponents. 

Despite that, Villas-Boas believes his side did not deserve to lose. 

"It was a balanced game, with few chances for both teams," he said. "We were the best team. I think we didn't deserve to lose this game. PSG going 2-0 up went against the run of play

"Congratulations to PSG. The best honour they gave us was the party that followed, because we offered them a difficult match."

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