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Feb 24, 2010

Inter lining up Blanc as Mourinho replacement

Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc is tipped to succeed Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan if the Portuguese boss fails to lift this season's Champions League for the Nerazzurri.

Mourinho's Inter future is largely contingent on the former Chelsea coach bringing the European Cup to the San Siro for the first time in 45 years, and the current Italian champions are thought to be lining up the highly-rated former France captain as a possible replacement.

An Italian source has informed Soccernet that Blanc is highly regarded at Inter and would be first choice to replace Mourinho if club owner Massimo Moratti wanted a change.

Blanc won the Ligue 1 championship with Bordeaux last season, ending seven years of Lyon dominance, and Les Girondins are on course to successfully defend their crown this season.

More importantly, Bordeaux have impressed in the Champions League - beating Juventus and Bayern Munich in the group stage and Olympiakos away on Tuesday to put one foot in the quarter-finals.

The source told Soccernet that a Champions League final berth is the bare minimum expected of Mourinho this season, as club officials have become increasingly frustrated with his controversial presence at the helm,

While Mourinho is thought to be on €11 million a year after tax, Blanc would cost significantly less, and its believed the former Manchester United defender's mild-mannered approach would endear him more to the Italian fans, referees and media, who have grown tired of Mourinho's outspoken antics.

Blanc has also been widely touted as a candidate to replace outgoing France coach Raymond Domenech, when he steps down after the World Cup finals later this year, but the Bordeaux boss has thus far denied the claims.

As a player, Blanc played for Inter between 1999 and 2001, winning the club's player of the year award in 2000 before heading to Manchester United on a free transfer. In recent months, he has also been linked as a possible successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at United. He retains close links with the Scot and is also said to have been considered as a potential Ferguson assistant in the past.

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