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Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:44 UK

Eriksson holds Benfica job talks

Man City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson and owner Thaksin Shinawatra
Eriksson (left) was appointed by Shinawatra

Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has held talks with Portuguese club Benfica about returning there for a third spell as coach.

A Benfica statement confirmed talks had taken place, but said: "No details of the contract, namely salaries and timing, have been discussed."

BBC Sport understands Eriksson has been told by City he will be sacked at the end of the season.

Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has been approached as a replacement.

On Wednesday, City owner Thaksin Shinawatra claimed he would not make a decision on the Swede's future until the end of the season.

However, a source close to Eriksson has told BBC Sport the Swede has been informed he is no longer required at Eastlands.

Eriksson met Benfica president Luis Felipe Vieira and their new director of football, Rui Costa, in Manchester on Wednesday.

BBC Radio 5 Live football correspondent Jonathan Legard said Eriksson's meeting made it clear what he thought of his future chances at Eastlands.

"Eriksson's current boss may have refused to confirm or deny whether he was about to be sacked, but his meeting in Manchester, captured by Portuguese television, clearly shows what he believes is about to happen," he said.

"The move for Scolari, despite the denials by his agent, indicate Eriksson's imminent departure. I understand however, that Eriksson won't be rushed on a decision about a return to Benfica."

"He can afford to sit back and wait for other offers. I understand that he would be more interested if there was an offer in Spain."

Thaksin Shinawatra will wait until the end of the season to make a decision

Eriksson has coached Benfica twice, leading them to two championships and a domestic cup in the early 1980s.

He then went to Italy but returned to Benfica in 1989, taking the club to the 1990 European Cup final, a game they lost to AC Milan, before winning the Portuguese title in 1991.

Benfica risk missing out on a Champions League spot for next season after a disappointing season. They are fourth in the SuperLiga, three points behind rivals Sporting Lisbon.

City, meanwhile, lie ninth in the Premier League ahead of Sunday's final game against Middlesbrough - which looks certain to be Eriksson's last league match in charge.

Scolari and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho have been linked with the job at City but Thaksin would not be drawn on who might be in charge next season, only saying: "They all - Sven, Scolari, Mourinho - they are great coaches, great managers."

However, he did say he had told Eriksson he was unhappy with City's mid-season dip in form which saw them fall out of contention for European football.

"During the season, we may complain for improvement but that's normal for every club," he said.

"But we will discuss at the end of the season what needs to be changed, what needs to be added to the success of the club."

BBC Sport understands contact has already been made between City and Scolari's representatives in a bid to bring the Portugal boss to Eastlands, with a deal worth a reported 3.2m-a-year ready to be rubber-stamped.

606: DEBATE

Scolari, 59, is believed to be interested in succeeding Eriksson - but wants to wait until after Euro 2008 before making a decision.

Scolari has also previously been reluctant to uproot his family from Portugal and cited intrusion into his private life as one of the reasons he rejected the chance to succeed Eriksson as England coach in 2006.

Thaksin, on the other hand, is thought to want a swift answer from Scolari.

City fans have reacted angrily to Eriksson's imminent departure and Thaksin hopes to head off further unrest with a quick announcement that he has captured the man who won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002.

Despite his treatment at the hands of Shinawatra, Eriksson is willing to lead City on their post-season tour of Thailand and Hong Kong next week, a source close to the Swede has told BBC Sport.

The source said it was "business as usual" for Eriksson and his coaching team and that no further talks were planned with Shinawatra before the end of the season.

If City fail to land Scolari, they are likely to turn their attention to Slaven Bilic, even though he signed a new contract with Croatia last week.




see also
Liverpool 1-0 Man City
04 May 08 |  Premier League
Scolari to leave after Euro bid
26 Dec 06 |  Internationals
Reid warns Thaksin over Eriksson
01 May 08 |  Football
Sven's signings - hits or misses?
29 Apr 08 |  Man City
The end of Eriksson's era
29 Apr 08 |  Man City
Eriksson to be sacked by Man City
29 Apr 08 |  Man City


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