Roman Abramovich looks set to disappoint Chelsea fans once again by overlooking fan-favourite Jose Mourinho as he searches for a replacement for Rafa Benitez, with Manuel Pellegrini and Antonio Conte understood to have been approached about the position, according to the Mirror.
The report claims Benitez’s days at Stamford Bridge are numbered and he won’t have his interim position made permanent in the summer, but it looks like Abramovich has decided against a move for Mourinho – who once again hinted at a return to England in the summer – in favour of Pellegrini and Conte.
Former Real Madrid boss Pellegrini has been doing an excellent job with Malaga this season, leading them to the knockout stages of the Champions League, and his agent Jesus Martinez claimed the Blues have already been in touch about taking over at the Bridge:
“Less than 15 days ago we had an offer from Roma, but we declined outright because we are midway through the season.
“Chelsea and other clubs have asked, but nothing else official has been said. Manuel would love to manage in the Premier League, but he’d also like to go to Germany, Italy and other championships. There is plenty of time to analyse where he will be next season.” Martinez is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
The Mirror claim Conte is also on Abramovich’s radar after leading Juventus back to the summit of Italian football and the former Siena coach – who has also been linked with Real Madrid – has admitted he’s flattered to be linked with such clubs:
When quizzed over the links, Conte is quoted by the Mirror as saying on Friday night:
“Am I flattered by any interest from Real Madrid or Chelsea? Such appreciation is pleasing and should also please the club because it shows that they made the right choice a year-and-a-half ago. It means we are doing well.”
Mourinho remains a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge after leading the club to two Premier League titles in his three years in charge between 2004-2007, but the newspaper suggests that he’s now unlikely to return to west London despite repairing his rocky relationship with Abramovich.
Who would Chelsea fans like to see replace Benitez in the summer? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.