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Football: Ex-Italy star Gennaro Gattuso set to take Valencia reins after Peter Lim talks

SINGAPORE - The winds of change appear to be drifting through La Liga side Valencia, with reports on Thursday (June 2) emerging that Singaporean billionaire owner Peter Lim held talks with Gennaro Gattuso with a view to appointing the Italian manager.

This comes on the back of the Spanish club removing their president Anil Murthy on Monday, following a leaked audio clip in which the former diplomat made indiscreet remarks at a private dinner.

Gattuso and his agent Jorge Mendes reportedly met Lim in Singapore on Wednesday. It is understood he has since left the Republic.

If appointed, the World Cup winner would be the 11th manager to take over the hot seat at Valencia, which is currently filled by Jose Bordalas.

Appointed at the start of this season, Bordalas led the club to the Copa del Rey final where they lost to Real Betis, and to ninth in the 20-team La Liga, 11 points adrift of a place that would have earned them continental football next season.

His contract is due to run for another season, but with an option by either him or the club to end it prematurely.

Spanish journalist Hector Gomez reported that the club's official radio broadcast acknowledged it was looking to replace Bordalas with Gattuso.

Gattuso, the former AC Milan and Italy midfielder, has been out of work since leaving Italian Serie A side Napoli at the end of last season, where he collected his first piece of silverware as a coach by winning the 2020 Coppa Italia.

He was due to take over at another Italian side, Fiorentina, before the start of 2021 season, but he and the club rescinded their agreement mutually 23 days after the announcement of his appointment, three weeks before he was due to start work on July 1.

Prior to Napoli, Gattuso had short spells at Swiss side Sion and Greek outfit OFI Crete before returning to Italy to take charge of Pisa, guiding them from the third tier to the second, only to later oversee their relegation.

He was then appointed by his old club Milan in 2017 to coach the Under-19s, but was swiftly promoted to take charge of the first team four months later, after Vincenzo Montella was sacked. He left in 2019 and joined Napoli.

Even before Gattuso's appointment has been confirmed, Valencia are already linked to several players ahead of what is likely to be a busy summer of rebuilding, with Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig said to be among their targets.

Since Lim took over the club in 2014, Valencia have had 10 different managers at the helm, including former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville (in 2015), ex-Italy manager Cesare Prandelli (2016) and Nuno Espirito Santo (2014), who went on to manage at English Premier League sides Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur.