Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly decided to dispense with Rafa Benitez at the end of the season and try to lure Pep Guardiola to London.
The Champions League holders are currently under the leadership of former Valencia boss Benitez, after sacking Roberto Di Matteo earlier this season.
However, the Daily Express is running the line that the Blues have already decided to not extend Benitez’ contract beyond its June expirary, in favour of trying to tempt former Barcelona man Guardiola to Stamford Bridge.
The club’s Russian owner Abramovich is said to be preparing a contract offer for the Spaniard worth €21.9m – £18m – a season for him to sign up from the summer.
Guardiola is on a 12-month sabbatical from the game after voluntarily ending his spell at the Camp Nou at the end of last season and has been linked with a number of clubs including Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Roma.