Chelsea have made preliminary inquiries about the availability of AS Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim as the English Premier League club seeks a replacement for Antonio Conte.
Jardim, 43, is in his fourth season at Monaco, whom he led to the semi-finals of the Champions League and an unexpected Ligue 1 title last year.
Adept at handling the major squad changes required by Monaco’s highly successful transfer policy, Jardim is valued by the Monaco hierarchy who extended his €4million a year after-tax contract until 2020 last summer. That deal also includes a €7.5m release clause payable by any club hiring the Portuguese ahead of its term.
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Jardim is well settled in Monaco, enjoying both the work and his life in the principality, and has stated he would only consider leaving the Russian-owned club for an opportunity to coach on a bigger stage.
“As a matter of principle, I never discuss specific names, I do not need to advertise myself,” Jardim said in November. “I have never stayed long in my previous roles because I have always pushed myself to go higher. This idea has not changed – I would only leave here for a club of greater dimensions.
“I have received offers, but few clubs have the right profile; barely a dozen in Europe. I am happy with Monaco and I respect the contract that I extended for one year.”
The Venezuela-born Jardim began his coaching career in Portugal’s lower leagues whilse still in his late 20s.
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He led Chaves and Beira-Mar to promotion, Sporting Braga to a third-place finish in the Primeira Liga, then guided Olympiakos to a 10-point lead in their 2012-13 Greek championship winning campaign.
Returning to Portugal for a single season, he took Sporting to an unexpected second-place finish before leaving for Monaco.
Monaco endured a difficult start to their current campaign following the summer sales of Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko, but are currently on course to finish second to Paris Saint-Germain in the league and suffered a controversial Coupe de la Ligue final defeat last weekend.