VALENCIA are on alert after Terry Venables' refusal to rule out a return to coaching in Spain.

Venables, due to leave Middlesbrough at the end of the season, has already been shortlisted by the Champions' League quarter-finalists to succeed current coach Hector Cuper, who looks destined for a post in Serie A.

Valencia president Pedro Cortes is aware of the impact Venables had when he led Barcelona to the Spanish League title.

Relegation-threatened Boro would love the former England boss to extend his stay at the Riverside Stadium, and chairman Steve Gibson is prepared to offer a tempting financial package.

But 58-year-old Venables, who has lined up a lucrative role as top pundit with ITV next season, refuses to confirm where his future lies.

Asked if he could reign in Spain again one day, Venables said: "Why not?

"I am enamoured with Spanish football, which I follow every week. It was an honour to manage a team like Barca; it was a prestige job.

"I left many friends there and great memories. A club like Barca always stays with you, without doubt. I don't see why I would rule anything out. I don't think I ever have. But there is no club that I am talking to.''

Venables is desperate to drag Boro clear of the Premiership drop zone after agreeing to take on a five-month rescue mission.

And he admitted: "It's a great club and I'm still enjoying it here. It's been a tough effort, up against the odds with all the pressure, but that's why we're in the job.'

"I've thought about the future and I've looked at the options, but I'm certainly not discussing them.

"Steve Gibson and I haven't sat down to talk. We've agreed to leave it for the moment.''

Venables believes Valencia could wreck English hopes of having three teams in the Champions' League semi-finals.

The Spaniards grabbed an away goal in Wednesday's 2-1 first-leg defeat at Arsenal and Venables said: "I think the game in Valencia is going to be hard for Arsenal.

"I think Leeds have done the job against Deportivo La Coruna, though they won't admit it because that would be foolish. I was at the game and they were excellent.

"And you can never rule Manchester United out of anything, even though it's an uphill task for them after losing at home to Bayern Munich.''

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