Chelsea add Claudio Ranieri, Mark Hughes and Eddie Howe to list of potential new manager

The Independent understands Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte remain strong contenders

Three current Premier League managers have been thrown onto the list of potential managers of Chelsea next season, according to different reports.

The Independent understands that Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino, Italy manager Antonio Conte and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone still remain the strongest contenders. 

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.

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Eddie Howe is said to be a target

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. 

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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