Chelsea have begun drawing up a list of second-choice managerial candidates as fears grow over their chances of luring Pep Guardiola to Stamford Bridge.
The former Barcelona boss has expressed reservations about working for Roman Abramovich and is said to have been surprised by Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking only six months after leading the club to the Champions League and FA Cup.
Guardiola also knows that Abramovich has got through eight managers in nine-and-a-half years and is not convinced he will be allowed the time he needs to put his stamp on the club if he hits a bad run of results. Furthermore, Guardiola is demanding total control of the club’s footballing operation, something that has not always been permitted during the Abramovich era.
As a result, Chelsea’s senior football staff, led by technical director Michael Emenalo, are making contingency plans. High on their list will be Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, while former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will also feature.
Chelsea officials have held extensive conversations with Guardiola’s advisers but negotiations have not gone as smoothly as envisaged.
Chelsea were rebuffed in their attempts to persuade Guardiola, who is midway through a 12-month sabbatical, to take charge of the team after Di Matteo’s sacking last month.
Guardiola’s camp have also stressed to Chelsea that he wants to consider other offers. AC Milan officials have held talks with the Catalan’s representatives, while Manchester City view him as a leading contender if they sack Roberto Mancini.
Should Chelsea have to resort to Plan B, two names stand out.
Abramovich admires Klopp, who has transformed Dortmund into one of the most formidable sides in Europe. The Russian may even seek a reconciliation with Mourinho, who looks set to leave Real Madrid in the summer. – Daily Mail