Punters urged to keep slips if backing Guardiola for Chelsea

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Ladbrokes have paid out on successful bets of Rafa Benitez replacing Roberto Di Matteo, but losing punters have been told to retain their slips.

The fact that Benitez has only taken over on an interim basis means that all losing bets will rollover until a permanent managerial appointment is made, which is expected to be in the summer.

This is good news for Pep Guardiola backers, as he is the 8/11 favourite to lead the club into the 2013/14 campaign.

It is no secret that Guardiola is the first choice of Roman Abramovich and the latest raft of short-term managers have been brought in literally as stop-gaps until the former Barcelona boss indicates he is happy to return from a break.

Guardiola has been earmarked for the role since the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, but the question remains whether he would pick Chelsea given that he could literally choose any job in world football that took his fancy.

It has been stated that Guardiola is clear in his mind that his next job will be in the Premier League, which is bad news for AC Milan and PSG.

However, a strong argument could be made that Manchester United would be Guardiola’s first choice and there is every chance that Sir Alex Ferguson would step down in the summer if for the best in terms of the future of the club.

A failure to win back-to-back Premier League titles would almost certainly result in Roberto Mancini being sacked at Manchester City and this would allow Guardiola to hook up again with Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have adapted a similar model to Barcelona in terms of developing youth and as a project, this may offer the most appeal to Guardiola.

Therefore, there are grounds to believe that an end-of-season Guardiola move to Stamford Bridge is not the certainty that many believe.

If this does not materialise, Benitez is 5/2 to take the reins permanently, with Jose Mourinho 11/1 to return to Chelsea.

An interesting longshot may prove to be Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, but there are doubts as to whether he is a big enough name, while Abramovich must be wary given that there are some similarities between the Argentine and Villas-Boas.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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