Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly lining up a £12 million per year deal to lure Pep Guardiola to Stamford Bridge (The Times via TuttermercatoWeb).
The report states that Chelsea have opened informal talks with the Barcelona manager, although such negotiations are at a very early stage.
Since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas last Sunday, two key contenders for the Chelsea job have emerged, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
Roberto Di Matteo has taken charge until the end of the season. The ex-Chelsea midfielder got off to a winning start on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over Birmingham City, courtesy of goals from Juan Mata and Raul Meireles.
But the Italian’s appointment is seen as a temporary measure until a permanent successor is announced.
Guardiola’s contract with Barcelona expires this summer, and interest in the 41 year-old is extremely high. He has already dismissed interest from Mexican side Chivas saying to Goal.com:
“I have been in Mexico before, but I do not plan on returning in the short term”.
Whilst Villas-Boas was appointed on the basis of one very successful season at Porto, Guardiola’s achievements at Barcelona have shown sustained success.
Three La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups, two Supercopa de España and a Copa Del Rey show Guardiola is a true champion.
If Abramovich is willing to throw his money about again in search for Champions League glory, Guardiola ticks all the boxes.
His main contender for the post is rival Jose Mourinho, who spent three successful years at Chelsea. During this period Mourinho won the Premier League and Carling Cup on two occasions, as well as the FA Cup in 2007.
Mourinho is understood to be privately unhappy at Real Madrid and was recently spotted house-hunting in London, fuelling speculation he could return to England.
Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp has ruled himself out of the running for the Chelsea job (The Independent). Here’s what he had to say:
“It would be difficult. I wouldn’t be able to come back to north London…(smiling)…So no, I will pass on that one.”
So it’s Guardiola v Mourinho for now, unless other contenders such as Marcelo Bielsa, Rafa Benitez and Joachim Low can persuade the Russian billionaire they are the men who can finally guide Chelsea to European success.
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