m_AVB to take over Zenit job

Andreas Villa-Boas

Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas will take over Russian side Zenit St Petersburg this week after agreeing a two-season contract, the club said on Tuesday.

The Portuguese will replace Luciano Spalletti who was sacked this month. Caretaker Sergey Semak will be in charge of the team on Wednesday for the Champions League round of 16 return leg at Borussia Dortmund.

“Zenit has agreed terms on a contract with new head coach Andre Villas-Boas,” the club said in a statement. “The contract will be signed and Mr Villas-Boas will be presented in St Petersburg as Zenit’s new head coach on March 20.”

“Mr Villas-Boas’s contract begins in March, 2014 and is valid for two seasons.”

The 36-year-old was sacked by Tottenham in December.

Zenit, who managed just one win in the competition this season, including the group stage, lost the first leg to Dortmund 4-2 at home.

Villas-Boas will bump into a few familiar faces when he joins Zenit. Brazilian forward Hulk played under him when he was head coach of Porto and defender Luis Neto and midfielder Danny are both Portuguese internationals.

The former Chelsea boss will also be more than aware of the talents Axel Witsel has to offer as the Belgian international joined Zenit from Portuguese giants Benfica

There were other candidates for the vacant post at Zenit.

Vitesse Arnhem coach Peter Bosz was reported to be a target and Telegraf.nl said the 50-year-old had held talks with Zenit in Amsterdam about potentially joining the club from Russia’s second city.

Former CSKA Moscow manager and veteran coach Valery Gazzaev was also linked with being handed the task of taking over at last season’s Russian Premier League runners-up.

Dutch media reports said Villas-Boas was chosen by Zenit because Hulk wanted a head coach who could speak Portuguese. Hulk’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is also a friend of Villas-Boas’s.

Reuters