Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has sent out the message that he wants the best manager in the world and has targeted Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola in the summer after a move for Rafa Benitez fell through.
Having decided to sack Andre Villas-Boas, Benitez was considered on a short term deal until the end of the season, but it collapsed as the former Liverpool boss wanted a minimum of a two-year contract.
ESPNsoccernet sources hinted that Benitez might well have been interviewed last Wednesday for around five hours and that, on Friday, Abramovich's hierarchy had an emergency meeting to decide whether to axe AVB ahead of the match at West Brom.
After deciding to give him one final chance, a 1-0 defeat to the Baggies sealed his fate and Guardiola is now the coach Abramovich believes can sort out the mess at Stamford Bridge as he would command total respect for his achievements with the stellar names at the Nou Camp.
A source told ESPNsoccernet: "Roman wants the best in the world, so Guardiola clearly fits the bill, if he can get him of course. There have been one or two English managers names put forward, like Harry Redknapp and Glenn Hoddle, but Roman and his advisors like the men in vogue and they are usually the foreign coaches."
Guardiola has yet to decide whether he will extend his contract at the Nou Camp for another year, and the interest from Chelsea is sure to delay any decision still further as Abramovich is ready to make him the richest manager of all time.