Three current Premier League managers have been thrown onto the list of potential managers of Chelsea next season, according to different reports.
Three current Premier League managers - two of them with strong links to Chelsea - have been named in the next tier of contenders if the Blues can't attract one of their top targets in the summer.
Unlike in previous seasons where the Chelsea job has been seen as one of the elite positions in Europe, Roman Abramovich and the board will enter the summer in an uncertain position and may struggle to attract the best.
Chelsea will likely be outside of the Champions League spots, barring an incredible run of form to the end of the season, while the sacking of Jose Mourinho, winner of the Premier League just six months before, could turn potential candidates off given Abramovich's famed lack of patience.
The Daily Telegraph name Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri, the first manager of the Roman Abramovich era, Stoke City's Mark Hughes, a boyhood Chelsea supporter and former player who spent three years at the club, and Eddie Howe of Bournemouth as potential candidates.
The Guardian has also named Hughes as a strong contender, after the brilliant job he has done of transforming Tony Pulis' ugly but effective Potters into one of the most watchable teams in the Premier League.
Russian owner Abramovich has cycled through nine men and 11 managers in his 12 years in charge, but has never appointed a British boss.
Even the Ken Bates era saw few British managers with Glenn Hoddle, who was in charge from 1993-96, the last Briton to step into the home dressing room at Stamford Bridge.
Eddie Howe has impressed for Bournemouth but with only six months of Premier League experience, the job may have come too soon for the 38-year-old.
Ranieri has been the manager of the season so far, plus his demeanour when dealing with the press and officials, and public persona as friendly and likeable, is attractive to the image Chelsea are trying to portray as a club.
Despite Chelsea's desire to appoint one of Pochettino, Conte or Simeone, appointing any of those three will come with difficulties.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy famously drives a hard bargain and Tottenham are a young team on the rise - Pochettino may not want to abandon that project just as it is starting to bear fruit, especially given the state of Chelsea's squad and current position.
Antonio Conte's Italy contract ends after Euro 2016 and he will review his situation after the tournament. Depending on how the Azzurri do at the tournament he may want to stay with the national team. He is said to be open to a move to the Premier League and is learning English, however.
Diego Simeone, contracted at Atletico until 2020, does have a release clause but the Argentinian is thought to be extremely content with the Rojiblancos, who are challenging Barcelona at the top of La Liga; the club also move into a brand new stadium next year and he is thought to want to see that through.
Big January transfers that may go through this week
Big January transfers that may go through this week
1/6 Loic Remy - Chelsea to Leicester City, £11.5m
The ex-QPR and Newcastle striker look set to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge. The signing of Brazillian forward Alexandre Pato means that the French international is now considered surplus to requirements at the champions. Whilst Newcastle and Crystal Palace has been interested in the player he now looks set to be heading to high-flying Leicester City. An £11.5m bid from Claudio Ranieri is expected to mean that Remy will join Jamie Vardy and Riyah Mahrez at the King Power stadium.
2/6 Alex Teixeira - Shakhtar Donetsk to Liverpool, £30m
Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, is in the midst of an injury crisis at Anfield with Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Divock Origi all out. January is a notoriously challenging time to do business of this magnitude so the Reds’ offer for Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira should be commended. Scoring 15 goals in just 22 appearances for the Ukrainian outfit, Liverpool have already failed with two offers, worth £24.5m and £28m respectively, as the transfer window hurtles along. Expect Klopp to go in with a late bid before deadline day.
3/6 Mathieu Debuchy - Arsenal to Sunderland or Aston Villa, six-month loan
Sunderland have reportedly joined fellow Premier League strugglers Aston Villa in the race to sign Mathieu Debuchy. The Arsenal full-back has fallen out-of-favour at the Emirates this season and will be allowed to leave on loan if the Gunners receive a financial package which matches their valuation. Remi Garde, the Villa manager, has pursued Debuchy’s signature all month but has been frustrated with the lack of progress made.
4/6 Saido Berahino - West Brom to Newcastle or Tottenham, £23m
The unsettled West Bromwich Albion striker is stirring for a move away from the Hawthorns. Tottenham had two bids rejected for the forward in the Summer but are yet to move in for the former England Under 21s man. Whilst Spurs may move late on deadline day to secure a deal they could also face competition from Newcastle. Steve McClaren is thought to be interested in bringing Berahino to the club to form an English triumvirate with Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend. However, Albion chairman Jeremy Peace is thought to be unwilling to sell to a relegation rival.
5/6 Eder - Sampdoria to Leicester City, £10m
Leicester City have been linked with a £10m move for Sampdoria and Italy striker Éder as manager Claudio Ranieri looks for a new forward to spearhead their title challenge. The Foxes are three points clear atop of the Premier League table following the 3-0 demolition of Stoke City on Saturday, but recently offloaded Andrej Kramarić on loan to Hoffenheim for the rest of the season. Sky Sports Italia report Leicester are prepared to meet Sampdoria’s valuation for the 29-year-old, who has scored twice in eight appearances for the Azzurri.
6/6 Renato Sanches - Benfica to Manchester United, £30m
The name of Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches has dominated most of Manchester United's transfer talk in the window's closing stages. The youngster has a £60million release clause but the Portuguese club may be willing to strike a deal for half that amount.
Former Chile manager Jorge Sampoali, who quit after a long row with the federation, is a free agent and could also be receptive to a move to Stamford Bridge. Despite his excellent international resume, he last managed at club level in 2012 and has never managed in Europe.
Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola would be Abramovich's top target, but he seems set on joining Manchester City.
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- Chelsea F.c.
- Claudio Ranieri
- Mauricio Pochettino
- Mark Hughes
- Eddie Howe
- Roman Abramovich