Chelsea’s chief executive said on Wednesday the English Premier League club would name a new coach within two weeks and was looking to buy at least two players ahead of the new season.
Ron Gourlay said the team was close to announcing a new manager following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti after the club’s poor performance last season.
“The process is moving along very well … We would look to have a new coach in place maybe within a week, two weeks,” Gourlay told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
“We are certainly working to a week, two weeks. But it could be sooner,” he said.
Blues captain John Terry has backed former Chelsea striker Mark Hughes or Turkey coach Guus Hiddink to take charge at Stamford Bridge.
But Gourlay, in Kuala Lumpur to launch a football training programme ahead of the Blues’ visit next month, would not reveal who was in the running.
He said the squad, including a new manager and several more new players, would be unveiled when the Blues play their friendly against Malaysia’s national side on July 21.
“I’m delighted to tell you that we will bring our full squad,” Gourlay said, but remained equally tight-lipped on the club’s transfer targets.
“I think we are looking at probably two to three players minimum coming into this side,” he said.
“It’s just making sure we can get the right players available who can strengthen the team. Because we are a very, very strong team,” he said. “We are in good shape. There is not too much meddling with the team to be done.”
On speculation that the team could let go of Didier Drogba, Gourlay said as far as he knew the Ivorian would be staying.
“Didier is very much a mainstay of the Chelsea team, so yes, Didier will be here with us in a few weeks’ time,” he said.
Chelsea have already signed on three players so far this year to strengthen the team to prepare for what is “undoubtedly going to be a very, very difficult season ahead”, Gourlay said.
“Our target is very much to be back competing. Last year was a difficult year of course,” he said. “However that’s history now. We will move on. We expect to be competing for all the major trophies next season.”
“Let’s not get too despondent. I’m sure a club like ours will bounce back very, very strongly this coming season,” he added.
The Malaysia stop will mark the Blues’ third visit to this South-east Asian country since 2003. As part of its Asia Tour, the team will also play in Bangkok on July 24 and Hong Kong on July 27 and 30.
Liverpool and Arsenal will also play friendlies in Malaysia in July. — AFP