Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola 'wants to take charge of Chelsea'


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The Independent Football

Pep Guardiola has reportedly told close friends that he favours a move to Chelsea when he makes his return to management.

The former Barcelona manager is currently on sabbatical after an incredible four seasons at the Nou Camp in which he delivered three La Liga titles and two European Cups.

While currently in New York with his family, it's widely understood the 41-year-old wishes to return to management next season, and according to the reports today, he could resurface in west London.

Chelsea have long been linked with Guardiola during Roman Abramovich's chaotic chopping and changing of managers at Stamford Bridge and it's claimed that the European champions sounded the Spaniard out before giving Roberto Di Matteo the job on a full-time basis.

It took three weeks after Di Matteo delivered the Champions League before he was made the full-time manager, which suggests there were uncertainty over whether to hand the Italian the two-year deal which he is currently on.

After a fantastic start to the current campaign, in the past few weeks Chelsea have slipped from the top of the Premier League, been beaten by Manchester United and suffered their first loss in the Champions League since lifting the trophy. While it would be an exaggeration to suggest Di Matteo is under pressure, the current manager will be aware of how quickly the situation can change at Stamford Bridge if results aren't going the right way.

Ironically, it is the shift in style of play that Di Matteo has overseen that has reportedly attracted Guardiola to the job.

Chelsea are currently playing the most attractive football seen since Abramovich bought the west London club, helped by the additions of Oscar and Eden Hazard to a squad bolstered by Fernando Torres and Juan Mata the previous year. The departure of Didier Drogba has also facilitated the change in style.

Guardiola is regarded among the best managers in the world and should he signal his willingness to return to work, Manchester City may pay attention. City recently appointed Txiki Begiristain, the former Barcelona technical director, as director of football at the Etihad Stadium. Ferran Soriano has also arrived at City, another who worked closely with Guardiola at the Nou Camp.

The revelation that current City manager Roberto Mancini held talks over a possible move to Monaco will only add to speculation.