Benitez wants ex-Chelsea winger as assistant manager

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New Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez will bring former-Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder Boudewijn Zenden to Stamford Bridge as his assistant manager, according to Zenden's agent.

Benitez was named as Chelsea interim boss until the end of the season on Wednesday night, and will meet the Blues players today.

And reports in Holland quoting Zenden's father, who also acts as his agent, suggest the former-Stamford Bridge star has been lined up by Benitez to join his coaching staff.

Pierre Zenden told Voetbal International that his son was travelling to Chelsea.

"He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight," Pierre Zenden was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

"Since yesterday, he phoned Benitez many times. I assume that he will be on the pitch this afternoon, together with the manager. I assume he will finish the season, just like Benitez."

Benitez's appointment came as something of a shock, and many Chelsea fans registered their displeasure with the decision, not just to hire a former-Liverpool manager, but to sack Roberto Di Matteo in the first place.

Benitez may look to mitigate some of their ire by bringing Zenden to Stamford Bridge. The Dutch international was a fan favourite at Chelsea when he played for the Blues between 2001 and 2004, before Benitez brought him to Anfield.

The 36-year-old has never previously held a coaching position at a top club, and will likely work alongside Benitez just until the end of the season.

The short-term nature of the Spaniard's contract hints at Roman Abramovich's desire to bring another manager in at a later date, most likely former-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

Speculation has suggested Benitez has been hired to try and get the best out of misfiring £50m striker Fernando Torres.

Benitez signed Torres at Liverpool, and the Spain international played the best football of his career under the ex-Valencia boss.

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Boudewijn Zenden
Premier League

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