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Villas-Boas facing tall task at Chelsea

By Tim Keeble, Soccer Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - This time of year it's not unusual for a club like Chelsea to spend $20 million on a new addition.

But what made the move of Andre Villas-Boas to Chelsea from FC Porto a little different is the fact that Villas-Boas is not a lockdown defender, speedy playmaker in midfield, or a threat in front of goal.

No, he is the club's new manager, albeit one of the most highly-regarded young minds in the game.

The $20 million check that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich handed over to the Portuguese side to release Villas-Boas from his contract seems excessive, but Abramovich may be gambling that history will repeat itself.

When the Russian billionaire took over as owner at Chelsea he brought in a cocky young boss from FC Porto named Jose Mourinho, who had just guided Porto to the Champions League title.

Mourinho would go on to make Chelsea the best team in England during his tenure, and the hope around Stamford Bridge now is that Villas-Boas can do the same.

Andre Villas-Boas became the youngest manager to ever win a European trophy.
The comparison between the two managers is unavoidable, with Villas-Boas serving under Mourinho during his time at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, while both men won European titles at the Estadio do Dragao prior to departing for west London.

At 33, Villas-Boas became the youngest manager to ever win a European trophy, while he also helped Porto to an unbeaten season in the league en route to winning the title as well as the league cup.

He is viewed as a great tactician and may go on to follow in Mourinho's footsteps as one of the best managers in the world, but first he faces a greater challenge at Chelsea than the one that Mourinho did seven years ago.

The "Special One" took a good Chelsea side to the next level, helping them become not only one of the elite teams in England, but also in Europe.

With the deep pockets of Abramovich and the tactical ability of Mourinho, Chelsea claimed two straight Premiership titles and reached the semifinals of the Champions League twice.

Mourinho abruptly left the club in September 2007, and since his departure, the Chelsea hotseat has not been occupied by the same man for more than two seasons.

Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti have each had plenty of success as managers, but none of them was able to deliver the one thing that has continually eluded Chelsea, the Champions League trophy.

Grant took Chelsea to the final of the competition in 2008, and despite the fact that Ancelotti won both the league and FA Cup in his first season with the Blues, he was shown the door after his second campaign with Chelsea finishing second in the EPL last season.

This illustrates how high the stakes are at Chelsea, and if as expected, the club goes out and spends big for even more players, Abramovich will expect nothing less than instant success.

Chelsea has been linked with a big-money move for Brazil youngster Neymar, and now that Villas-Boas has joined the club, there are some talented players at Porto that could follow, including Hulk, Radamel Falcao and Joao Moutinho.

Remember, the club already shelled out $80 million to bring striker Fernando Torres to Chelsea from Liverpool in January, and along with the big investment in Villas-Boas, the pressure to perform will be immediate.

Last year was an unbelievable success for Villas-Boas at Porto, but the EPL season and the pressure of the Champions League is a totally different animal from the Portuguese Liga and the Europa League.

It may take Villas-Boas a bit of time to adjust, but he better not take too long, because if history has shown us anything, it is that Roman Abramovich is not a very patient man.

Comments? Criticism? Applause?
Contact Tim Keeble at tkeeble@sportsnetwork.com.

Follow Tim Keeble on Twitter and Facebook.

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