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By ESPN Staff

Chelsea: The contenders

Jose Mourinho's unexpected exit from Chelsea leaves the Blues looking for a swift replacement. We consider some possible contenders.

GUUS HIDDINK •  One of the many names linked with Chelsea in recent years, Hiddink is currently coach of the Russian national team. They are struggling in the Euro 2008 qualifiers but the influence of Russian owner Roman Abramovich could see the Dutchman arrive in a job-share, or full-time towards the end of the year.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS •  A free agent after his surprise departure from Juventus in the summer. The former Blues midfielder began his managerial career at Monaco before taking over at Juve, steering them straight back to Serie A after their match-fixing demotion.

AVRAM GRANT •  Another friend of Abramovich who was controversially brought in as director of football last season against Mourinho's wishes. Likely to take over at least in the short-term. But will the players view him as a `chairman's man'?

FRANK RIJKAARD •  The Barcelona coach was lauded across the world after his success in Catalonia, and was another linked to Stamford Bridge. His stock has fallen recently but he would bring the attractive football and proven credentials Chelsea demand.

JUANDE RAMOS •  A manager yet to be mentioned since Mourinho's departure. A move to Chelsea was suggested last season and he is keen to move to England. The Tottenham job did not come off but surely Chelsea would be a different proposition?

FABIO CAPELLO •  The Italian is out of work. He has been successful at every club he has managed, including Real Madrid last season when he won the title but was sacked anyway. But his dour tactics would not appeal to Abramovich.

MARCELLO LIPPI •  Another Italian, also proven at the highest level and highly respected. The Italian World Cup-winning manager would be a bold and potentially brilliant appointment. But would he give up his sabbatical on the Amalfi Coast for the pressures of Stamford Bridge?

MARK HUGHES • Was linked with the job during the Mourinho-Abramovich spat but may not be high profile enough for the Chelsea image.

JURGEN KLINSMANN • No experience of club managerment but he impressed in leading Germany as hosts at the 2006 World Cup. However, may be a struggle to drag him away from his California home.