Scolari asked Clarke not to leave for West Ham
Monday, 15 September 2008

The Independent

Luiz Felipe Scolari yesterday told Steve Clarke that he was making a mistake in leaving Chelsea to join West Ham United. The Brazilian believes his contacts could have secured his assistant manager a much better job. Chelsea are demanding over £1m in compensation for the man who has resigned to become Gianfranco Zola's No 2.

Clarke, 45, is understood to be dismayed after Chelsea told him on Thursday that they would not agree to let him go, and subsequently refused to accept his resignation. There have been talks between the clubs but the former Scotland defender has been told that despite 21 years' service as player and coach, Chelsea want compensation worth two years of his salary.
Yesterday Scolari said he had invited Clarke to his home on Thursday in an attempt to persuade him to stay. "I said to Steve I am the man who can offer more opportunities for him than other coaches," Scolari said. "I have friends all over the world. Maybe, in the future, I could get him a job somewhere else. But it's finished. Now I don't know what's happening. He has resigned, but Chelsea have not accepted. The board will discuss what happens next."
West Ham are confident of capturing Clarke, who was promoted when Jose Mourinho took control at Chelsea in 2004. After Mourinho's departure Avram Grant brought in the Dutch coach Henk Ten Cate, who has now left. Last season Clarke was regarded by the players as a major voice in the dressing room, where he would often deliver the team-talks. Scolari has brought in Darlan Schneider and Flavio "Murtosa" Teixeira.
Scolari said Clarke was a valuable "link" between him and the players. "We accepted Steve and he accepted us, and we worked very, very well together," he said. "We are friends now. We don't just work together. It's important because he's my friend and he knows Chelsea very well. He knows how it works in this country and he knows English football. He knows what I feel about him. I said it in front of the board, but I don't know what will happen in the future."
In the past, the Chelsea hierarchy have seemed indifferent towards Clarke. They have taken their current stance because they have previously been required to pay compensation for staff, most notably the director of football, Frank Arnesen, who cost around £9m from Tottenham in 2005.
Scolari yesterday signalled Chelsea's intention to sign a replacement for the injured Michael Essien, which means his club could battle with Arsenal for the services of Brazil international Mineiro.
The 33-year-old, whose full name is Carlos Luciano da Silva, is out of contract and so available to sign outside the transfer window. Mineiro, who has 25 caps for Brazil, has been training with Arsenal this month with a view to them taking him on a short-term deal to cover their own midfield shortages. He left Hertha Berlin this summer.
Desperate times call for desperate measure for Scolari who said yesterday that Essien would be out for at least six months with a cruciate knee injury picked up playing for Ghana last week. Michael Ballack is also injured and John Obi Mikel is a doubt for today's game against Manchester City. The other option is Stephen Appiah, but his fraught legal situation with former club Fenerbahce would make a quick deal difficult.
"I have some problems because Essien is injured, but I'll try and solve it this week," Scolari said. "Wait [and see]. I have some ideas about this position. I said yesterday to Peter [Kenyon] and I think he will try to move something today, tomorrow or next week."

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