The English football media is reporting that Chelsea have sounded out Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini over the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge.
Apparently one of Pellegrini’s advisors has been in London to meet with Chelsea officials, who have suggested the Chilean is on their shortlist of possible long-term successors to Roberto Di Matteo.
Pellegrini is highly respected in European club football, having led smallish Spanish clubs Villarreal and Malaga deep into the Uefa Champions League.
Pellegrini is renowned for being a tough, yet affable task master, who favours an attacking brand of football.
His good English, relatively low buyout clause and the fact that Malaga are banned from European football next season make Chelsea think he could be a no-fuss appointment.
However, it is unclear if Pellegrini himself favours trading the comfort of Mediterranean living for the precarious job of Chelsea boss.
It is also being reported that along with bookies favourite Jose Mourinho, Everton manager David Moyes, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and Watford’s former Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola are also on the London club’s radar.
It is believed that Chelsea are waiting until their Champions League status for next season is guranteed before appointing their new manager.
Meanwhile, current Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez has again indicated he is not afraid to make uncomfortable and unpopular decisions in order to guide the club into next season’s Champions League.
Benitez returned idolised skipper John Terry to the starting line-up last night, and the defender duly stated his case for more game time by scoring a brace in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Fulham.
But Benitez has suggested that despite his goal heroics, Terry could well find himself on the bench again, when Chelsea play Liverpool at the weekend.
"The important thing is always the team," said Benitez after the Fulham victory.
"Every player wants to play every game, but they have to realise they can't do that and be 100% in each game.
"As for the Champions League, I said a long time ago that the race for the top four would go until the end for the season. It'll be like this and I don't think any of the clubs up there, including Everton, is out of it. Things can change with every game. We have to keep winning our games and keep going."