• Russian Premier League

Villas-Boas set for Zenit, says Benfica boss Jesus

Andy Brassell
March 15, 2014
Villas-Boas will reportedly sign a three-and-a-half year deal © Getty Images

Andre Villas-Boas has agreed to become the new head coach of Zenit St Petersburg, replacing the sacked Luciano Spalletti, according to Benfica boss Jorge Jesus.

Reports in the Russian media on Friday suggested that the former Chelsea and Tottenham coach was set to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal to take over at the Petrovsky on Monday and Jesus, Villas-Boas' rival from the 36-year-old's glorious year in charge of Porto, confirmed the story.

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, ahead of the Portuguese league leaders' trip to Nacional on Sunday, Jesus said Villas-Boas had confirmed to him in a telephone call on Friday that he would resume his managerial career in Russia.

"I have an excellent relationship with Villas-Boas," Jesus said. "We were speaking yesterday, and I speak with him frequently. I don't know if I should say this, but he told me that he's going to Zenit."

Following his dismissal by Tottenham in December, Villas-Boas had returned to his native city of Porto to assess his options, and had been tentatively linked with West Bromwich Albion and AC Milan, and even with a return to the Estadio do Dragao.

Should he indeed take the reins at Zenit, he will assume control of a team in second place in the Russian Premier League but in poor form, having lost their first game under interim coach Sergei Semak on Saturday, 1-0 at CSKA Moscow. Zenit travel to Borussia Dortmund for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, but with their hopes virtually extinguished as they face a 4-2 deficit.

Elsewhere in his Saturday briefing, Jesus sidestepped the implication that his friendship with Villas-Boas was behind the touchline spat with Tim Sherwood in Thursday's Europa League win at Tottenham, and said "we [Jesus and Sherwood] could talk about it some more."

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