Leonid Slutsky, Riversdown student, in New York Times

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Since January, Slutsky has been living in London as a guest of his close friend Roman Abramovich. Abramovich, the Russian billionaire who owns Chelsea, has done all he can to help Slutsky learn about English soccer. He put him up in a hotel adjacent to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium, offered him access to all areas at the team’s training facility, invited him to attend many of the club’s home games in his private box.

It was even through Chelsea’s recommendation that Slutsky found an intensive, custom course in English, studying for eight hours a day at Riversdown House school, in the Hampshire countryside.

He is the sort of man, too, who “likes to have a target,” an objective to meet. “My teacher at Riversdown House and I drew up a list of foreign Premier League managers and their standard of English,” he said. “In terms of accent, vocabulary, all these things. We had Arsène Wenger and José Mourinho at the top, then Jurgen Klopp. I was fifth or so.”

Slutsky’s aim, for now, is to catch the Liverpool manager. Occasionally, he will pause, midsentence, determined to make sure he conjugates a conditional verb correctly (he does).

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