Roma close in on Villas-Boas after Luis Enrique tells club he wants to quit

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EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | UK Correspondent

Andre Villas-Boas is close to reaching an agreement with Roma to become their new manager, Goal.com has learned.

The former Chelsea boss is the No.1 choice of the Serie A club to replace current manager Luis Enrique, who is poised to leave the Stadio Olimpico at the end of the season.

Goal.com understands that Luis Enrique has already informed general manager Franco Baldini and director of football Walter Sabatini of his intention to exit Roma when the campaign is finished.

Sources say that the former Barcelona B coach is “burnt out” and “exhausted” by the events of a season in which he has failed to win over Roma supporters and the media.

The Giallorossi are seventh in Serie A with two league games to play and their faint hopes of Champions League qualification were all but ended by Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw against Chievo.
 
Enrique has 13 months to run on the two-year, €2.9m-a-year contract he signed last June and talks will open shortly on the terms of a severance pay-off.

Villas-Boas is understood to be the No.1 choice of Roma ahead of Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, whose earliest availability would not be until after this summer’s European Championships.

Goal.com revealed in March that Villas-Boas had held talks with Baldini at a Chelsea restaurant near the Italian’s London residence about the Portuguese taking over at Roma next season.

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Villas-Boas, who was coming to the end of his ill-fated Stamford Bridge reign, told Baldini, who left the England set-up last October to join Roma, that he feared the axe from owner Roman Abramovich and would be keen to take over the American-owned Italian club.

The Portuguese was dismissed by Chelsea nine months into his reign with a record of just 18 wins in 40 matches after being hired at great expense from Porto last June.

He had a meeting with Roma officials while he was still at Porto but the Serie A club were put off by the £13.3m (€15m) release clause in his contract, which was paid by Abramovich to take him to Stamford Bridge.

Goal.com understands that Villas-Boas will not be given more than a three-year contract by the Italian club.

The future of Luis Enrique has been in doubt for some time, with Sabatini admitting on Tuesday night that the Spaniard could leave the club.

“We don’t want to think of a future without Luis Enrique, but perhaps he considers himself to be a problem, an obstacle for the future of the team” Sabatini told Sky Sport Italia.

“He has to take into account that our support is not academic, but it’s real. He has to reflect with serenity and then make the best decision. We will certainly talk it over together at the end of the season and make our evaluations.

“We’re at the start of a path and we know that we have to implement the team in the right way. We’re active, not static. We’re doing what we have to.”    

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