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Gianfranco Zola could replace Steve Holland as assistant at Chelsea — report

In what is likely just putting two and two together and getting seven out of it, various reports this weekend (such as this one in The Sun) have claimed that Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has thrown his hat into the ring as a potential replacement for Steve Holland, who may or may not be joining Gareth Southgate's England coaching staff this week as the current interim boss is made permanent England manager.

Holland has served as first-team assistant coach at Chelsea since 2011, being one of the few constants behind the revolving door of the manager/head coach position.  He's also been helping out part-time with the England U21 setup and has followed Gareth Southgate to his interim appointment as England boss as well.  Southgate is widely expected to be made full-time England manager this week and according to earlier reports, will want Holland to join him full-time.  Chelsea are apparently not so keen on this, but other reports do claim that we would allow him to pursue his career goals, should he so choose.

Zola made several Chelsea-related appearances this weekend, working the studio and the sideline for BT Sport's broadcast of the match against Spurs, popping up as the special guest on Chelsea TV's Chelsea Re-seen weekly feature, and working with betting company William Hill to meet some fans in person at the FWA Live event as well.

Zola is currently out of a job, having been sacked over the summer by Al-Arabi of the Qatari Stars League.  Talking with journalists this weekend, he expressed a general desire to coach at Chelsea one day, though was quick to stress that there's nothing actually on the table just yet.

"I am saying something obvious if I say one day I want to be Chelsea manager. But I’ve always said I would like to be a Chelsea coach.  But I haven’t spoken to Antonio about that. I like to see my old club in good hands. I’m really happy for Antonio and I hope he’s successful."

-Gianfranco Zola; source: The Sun

Those words, combined with all his Chelsea-related appearances this weekend, and the potential vacancy should Steve Holland choose to leave, and it's easy to see how this rumor got cobbled together.  I doubt there's anything more to it than that at the moment, though obviously it would be fantastic to have Zola back at the Bridge regularly in any capacity.

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