Rumours suggesting that Pep Guardiola will take over as Chelsea manager after this season are gathering pace, as Jose Mourinho’s infamous third season continues to unravel at Stamford Bridge.
It could be that Guardiola doesn’t actually take over from the Portuguese, with suggestions that a poor result against Liverpool in the next Premier League fixture will be enough to end the Special One’s second tenure in west London.
Should that be the case – and the Reds are 3/1 to end their own run of poor form with a win – then Roman Abramovich could be looking for a temporary, Rafa Benitez-style interim manager to fill in until the summer.
Ironically, two other former Chelsea managers, both of whom are currently out of work, could be the best options to plug the gap.
Carlo Ancelotti and Guus Hiddink are both silverware-winning members of Chelsea’s managerial alumni and would follow Mourinho’s footsteps back to the Blues should they take up Abramovich’s call.
Ancelotti is currently on a sabbatical having parted company with Real Madrid in the summer. He has recently spoken of a new-found readiness to return to management and has a desire to manage in the Premier League again.
Whether he would be open to a short-term stint with Chelsea is questionable, while his cutthroat sacking in 2011 having secured the double a year earlier may put him off the idea entirely.
Hiddink, however, is a different proposition. The Dutchman’s last stop at the Bridge came in exactly the same circumstances having replacing Luis Felipe Scolari during the 2008/09 campaign and therefore knows exactly what to expect.
He performed superbly as a temporary solution back then. He won all bar two of his 13 league games, won the FA Cup and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The former midfielder is an avid returner too. He had three separate spells at De Graafschap as a player and has managed both Holland and PSV Eindhoven twice during his career.
At 68 and having recently failed drastically in his second spell as Netherlands coach, a sharp burst back in London, where he is extremely popular, could be exactly the kind of move needed by both parties.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.