(Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
By Adam Ellis
Hull City have tasked Leonid Slutsky with securing their return to the Premier League by appointing him as their new manager.
The former CSKA Moscow and Russia national team coach has been living in London for the past six months with the aim of pursuing the next step of his career here in English football.
The Russian has spent that time embedded with Chelsea due to his close association with Blues owner Roman Abramovich and has been taking English language lessons.
In a statement which did not specify the terms of Slutsky’s contract, the Tigers confirmed: “We are delighted to announce Leonid Slutsky as our new head coach.
“The 46-year-old former head coach of the Russian national team and title-winner with CSKA Moscow will arrive in Hull next week (subject to international clearance) with preparation for the 2017/18 season already well underway.”
Slutsky replaces Marco Silva at the KCOM Stadium following the club’s relegation to the Championship despite a revival mastered at the turn of the year by the Portuguese coach.
In taking two weeks to find his successor, City’s vice-chairman Ehab Allam added: “I am delighted to welcome Leonid as our new head coach. After a thorough recruitment process, Leonid’s attention to detail, thoughts on playing style and his ambition made him the stand-out candidate.
“The club has made plans for pre-season training and friendlies, with some exciting fixtures to be announced next week, and squad planning with Leonid is already underway. Leonid has enjoyed success at both club and international level and I am excited about his plans for guiding us back towards the Premier League.”
Slutsky was handed the reins at CSKA Moscow in 2009 and would deliver three titles during his seven seasons in the Russian capital.
Driving the team on to become only the second Russian team in history to reach the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2015/16, a feat which earned him the chance to manage his country at Euro 2016.
Slutsky and Abramovich became acquainted shortly after the gas magnate bought out Chelsea in 2003 but has remained an influential figure on the Russian football scene since his move to west London.
Living in London at an apartment arranged by Abramovich, Slutsky said: “I am delighted to become the head coach of Hull City and I am very much looking forward to the challenge of guiding the Club back to the Premier League.
“I already know that this is an important club with a big and loyal fanbase, I’ve had a good feeling about it ever since meeting the Allam family and I can’t wait to get started next week.”
Hull City fans will find out who their first opponent of the 2017/18 season will be when the EFL releases the fixtures list on Wednesday, 21 June.