Abramovich and Grant: Friends reunited

By Simon Griver, August 1, 2008

Abramovich agrees £3.5m deal with Grant, who wants another English job


After receiving a £3.5 million golden handshake from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for just a few months work, we can reveal that Avram Grant is still determined to taste success in England.

Speaking to the JC from Tel Aviv, Meir Granat, the former Chelsea manager's father, said: "Avram has had a lot of offers from around Europe but so far not from an English club. He has turned them all down because he wants to stay in England and manage another English club."

Granat confirmed reports that his son had made his peace with Abramovich and agreed a compensation package. "They are friends again and often meet," he said.

Abramovich and Grant have dined together four times over the past six weeks and agreed the compensation package during the most recent meeting at a London restaurant in mid-July.

Grant, 53, was hired last summer as Chelsea's director of football on £1 million-a-year after serving in the same position at Portsmouth. In September, amid a storm of controversy that he was under-qualified and charges of cronyism, Grant was named as Jose Mourinho's successor after Abramovich fired the Portuguese coach. But Grant confounded his critics and, after a 16-match unbeaten run, he was given a four-year contract worth £2.5 million a year in December.

The former Israeli national team boss was eventually sacked in May, three days after losing the Champions League final against Manchester United on a penalty shoot-out.

Initially he was furious about being fired and flirted with the idea of suing Chelsea to recoup most of the money still remaining on his contract. He was spotted in Tel Aviv having lunch with divorce lawyer Anthony Julius.

But now Grant has clearly decided that it is better to have Abramovich as a close friend rather than a foe even if he might have been legally entitled to several million pounds more.

His rekindled friendship with Abramovich even extends to praising his successor. "In the last few months, there have been big changes at Chelsea. I think Chelsea are now better than Manchester United or Arsenal.

"[Luiz] Scolari is a good coach and can bring success to Chelsea," he told the Bangkok Post earlier this week while he was in Thailand to deliver a lecture. It is now clear that Grant will not start the new season with a job in England.

He was overlooked for the two Premier League vacancies in the summer at Manchester City and Blackburn but will be hoping for an opening early in the season.

However, despite his impressive record at Chelsea, Grant's image as a man who loses cup finals and struggles to command respect in the dressing room may yet make it difficult for him to find employment in the top-flight.

Last updated: 6:55pm, July 31 2008