Italian dampens Chelsea links
Former Chelsea star Gianfranco Zola has attempted to dampen speculation linking him with the managerial post at the current champions of Europe.
The former West Ham United coach, who is currently in charge of high-flying Championship side Watford, has been tipped as a potential replacement for interim manager Rafael Benitez, with SkyBet offering odds of 10/1 at the time of writing on the Italian taking his place in the Stamford Bridge dugout next season.
In contrast to Benitez – who has faced severe criticism from Chelsea fans since taking over in November – Zola would be a popular appointment by the West London club, having spent seven successful years with the Blues which saw him help them win the FA Cup (twice), the League Cup and the UEFA Cup-Winners Cup.
But, in an interview with The Times, the 46-year-old was keen to stress his commitment to the Hornets, who could end a six-year absence from the Premier League if they win promotion this term.
“I would like to answer that question but I can’t. It would be unfair to other people,” the ex-Parma playmaker was quoted as saying.
“That club is special for me, but for now I’m committed here.”
Should Watford face Chelsea in 2013-14, then Zola’s side could look very different to the one seen at Vicarage Road during this campaign, with 14 loan players – including 10 from sister club Udinese – presently on their books.
Football League rules state that clubs are only permitted to include five loanees in a matchday squad, but loan deals with foreign teams are recognised as transfers.
“We’re not doing anything wrong,” Zola added.
“We’re just playing football, in many cases better than the opposition. That’s what matters.”