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Clarke leaving the Bridge?

Sad news people. It looks as if it's only a matter of time before the last link between the old Chelsea backroom and the new staff departs.

The club has confirmed assistant first team manager Steve Clarke has tendered his resignation. Chelsea, in an unsurprising move, has not accepted the request nor the approach made by West Ham to speak to Clarke -- it's understood Blues legend and new Hammers manager Gianfrancola Zola wants Clarke as his No. 2.

"Chelsea Football Club can confirm that West Ham United have made an approach with regards to talking to Steve Clarke. They have not been given permission to talk to him. Steve Clarke has tendered his resignation as assistant first team coach. We have not accepted his resignation. Talks are continuing."

What kind of talks exactly? If it's anything other than farewells, then I don't know what the hell the club is thinking. Actually, I don't know what the club is thinking anyway.

I love Steve Clarke. I think we all do. As a man who has spent 20 years at the club, as both a player and coach, he really represents Chelsea; something we are in dire need of at Stamford Bridge. However, if the man wants to pursue a new challenge, who is the club to deny him?

Soccernet has a little more info on the move: "His appointment is expected to be announced in the next few days, once the club have agreed a severance package with Chelsea. Although the West London club are demanding £1.2 million in compensation because Clarke has two years left to run on his contract."

It's likely Clarke has been contemplating leaving ever since Mourinho did a cha-cha out the door. Since then, it seems as if Clarke has been slowly pushed out of the loop -- although he must still be seen as the chief reason the club held together last season during the tenure of Avram the Great. Uncle Phil has relied more on the staff he compiled in the offseason rather than Clarke, too, another obvious push in the back.

Scolari has, since the news broke of Clarke's request, publicly revealed his desire for Clarke to stay on with Chelsea. How persuasive he can be remains to be seen. For me, I still think we'll see Clarke hanging with Zola in a few days.

Here's so moving pictures of Philly taking about Clarke, via the Mirror.

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