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Apr 23, 2012

France coach Blanc on Chelsea's radar

France coach Laurent Blanc is being considered by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich as the club's permanent successor to Andre Villas-Boas.

• Blog: Familiar Chelsea recreated

While Roberto Di Matteo has been undertaking his own extended job interview as the Blues' interim boss, Abramovich's aides have been trying to draw up a shortlist of candidates for the managerial position, which was vacated by the sacking of Villas-Boas in March.

Delivering Champions League glory to the Blues for the first time could give Di Matteo the opportunity to hold on to the post, but former Manchester United and Inter Milan defender Blanc is among those in the frame to be given the job on a long-term basis this summer.

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola and former Chelsea darling Jose Mourinho are understandably top of Abramovich's wanted list, but the Russian billionaire only has an outside chance of attracting either.

A secondary list of candidates has Blanc, whose contract with France expires after Euro 2012, at its summit; Marseille manager Didier Deschamps and Zenit St Petersburg chief Luciano Spalletti are also being considered.

A Chelsea source told ESPNsoccernet: "Roberto wants to be a manger in his own right, that was known before he became the interim coach and what he is now doing with the team makes him a hot commodity for clubs.

"Whether it is enough to land him the job at Chelsea remains to be seen. But if you had to make an informed judgement it is more likely the club will recruit from outside, as it has usually done.

"The plan as always is to recruit the best that there is, but even that has not worked out as managers have come and gone.

"It is not easy to find the right man, so there are a few names being discussed, and certainly the name of Laurent Blanc has been mentioned."

Blanc's first managerial tenure was in club football with Bordeaux, where he delivered the club their first Ligue 1 title in a decade in the 2008-09 season. He has steadied the France ship since taking the reins after Les Bleus' disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign, leading the nation to this summer's European Championship as group winners.

The Frenchman is also an attractive proposition as no compensation will be needed to prise him away from the French Football Federation (FFF), whereas a move for Mourinho would be likely to cost in the region of £25 million.

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