• Premier League

Benitez set to appoint Zenden as assistant manager

ESPN staff
November 22, 2012

Boudewijn Zenden will be appointed assistant to Rafael Benitez at Chelsea, the former Blues player's father has said.

Zenden spent three seasons at Stamford Bridge before joining Benitez at Liverpool in 2005.

The former Netherlands international has no previous coaching experience but is well known to Benitez and could help the Spaniard win over sceptical Blues fans by appointing a former player.

Zenden's father Pierre told Voetball International that his son had been approached by Benitez and was on his way to London.

"He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight," Zenden Sr said. ''Since yesterday, he phoned Benitez many times. I assume that he will be on the pitch [on Thursday] afternoon, together with the manager."

Zenden, who played 42 league games for Chelsea between 2001 and 2004, returns to Stamford Bridge with much to prove in what will be his first coaching appointment since he retired from playing last year.

Benitez was appointed interim manager at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday following the departure of Roberto Di Matteo. He will be unveiled in a press conference at 5.30pm on Thursday.

It has been revealed that Benitez's six-month contract at Chelsea has the option for a one-year extension that could be activated next summer. There have also been reports that the club may retain his services even if he does not continue as first-team coach next season.

Chelsea officials are believed to be keen to appoint an "experienced football figure" in a sporting director role, and Benitez could fit that bill in a restructured hierarchy at Stamford Bridge.

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