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Reports: Chelsea eyes Manuel Pelligrini

Chelsea have lined up Manuel Pelligrini as a possible replacement for Rafael Benitez, that's according to reports in Thursday's press.

Manuel Pellegrini's representatives met with Chelsea in Paris last week to gauge his interest in becoming the club's manager, according to multiple reports.

The 59-year-old's reputation has been boosted by an impressive spell at the helm of Malaga, which he this season led to the Champions League quarterfinals despite off-field distractions.

Pellegrini managed Villarreal and Real Madrid before that and there are suggestions his next destination could be Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho, however, remains the overriding favorite to manage the team.

Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season and has long been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge, where interim boss Rafael Benitez is under contract until May.

Mourinho would undoubtedly be the fans' choice, having steered Chelsea to two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups during three years in west London up until September 2007.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck was asked last week if anyone had been ruled out and about Mourinho in particular, to which he responded: "I am completely open-minded about it."

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Buck added: "We really haven't started that [search for a manager] yet. We're all thinking about it and have some ideas and certainly Mr Abramovich is thinking about it. At the moment we're concentrating on the end of the season."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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