Chelsea is set to step up their search for a new head coach following confirmation of Maurizio Sarri's departure for Juventus just a single season into his three-year deal at Stamford Bridge.
The former England midfielder would be a popular figure on the touchline and has seemingly had the role on his radar since concluding his playing spell with the club in 2014 but who else, could Roman Abramovich pursue?
Nuno Espirito Santo - Wolves
The Portuguese is very much a coach on the rise. Wolves charged out of the Championship in Nuno's first season at the helm and finished a highly respectable seventh in the Premier League, while the two other promoted teams, Fulham and Cardiff City, succumbed to immediate relegation. Nuno, however, is in a comfortable position at Wolves and it would be difficult to convince Mendes to let his client leave a project that is still in its infancy.
Javi Gracia - Watford
Like Nuno, Gracia has won plaudits for his work in a short space of time at a mid-table Premier League team. The former Malaga boss guided Watford to 50 points – nine more than they managed the previous campaign – and a trip to the FA Cup final in an encouraging 2018-19 season.
Erik ten Hag - Ajax
Chelsea wanted entertaining football from Sarri. This could be the man to deliver it. Ajax was a joy to watch during their thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals, Ten Hag successfully molding a youthful, talented team that passed the ball with aplomb and showed no fear in knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus. Appointing a coach with a knack for fostering emerging talents could be a shrewd move for a club that may have to look to its academy as the solution to a transfer embargo.
Ralf Rangnick - RB Leipzig
Reports in recent days describe Rangnick as a newcomer to Chelsea's shortlist of coaching contenders. It would take an abrupt change in direction for the German to land in London.
Massimiliano Allegri - unemployed
The most qualified man on the shortlist appears the least likely to take on the job. That seems to be the message after Sarri's predecessor at Juve decided he would like to take a 12-month break from coaching.
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