Two names top Chelsea shortlist, but not Di Matteo or Mourinho

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Despite the positive job that Roberto Di Matteo is doing as Chelsea manager, it appears that backing him as favourite to be handed the position full time is unlikely to reap rich rewards.

It would certainly give Roman Abramovich food for thought should Di Matteo advance past Barcelona into the Champions League final, but for now it is suggested that two names lead the shortlist for the Stamford Bridge hotseat.

The fact that one is Pep Guardiola is no surprise, given his success at Barcelona in recent years and the fact that he is yet to sign an extension on his rolling contract that is up this summer.

But despite the trophies that Guardiola has brought to the Nou Camp, it may be the way he oversaw a transitional period that most appeals to Abramovich.

The Spaniard sold big names like Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o and gave youth an opportunity.

Chelsea are in a similar position with the likes of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba among those entering their twilight years and it may take a strong personality like Guardiola to ensure that they exit without upsetting the camp.

This was arguably the main problem for Andre Villas-Boas, who made the decision that it was time for youth to be given a chance, but lost morale and the trust of the squad in the process.

However, the other name is not Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez or Athletic Bilbao’s Marcelo Bielsa, who have all been linked with Chelsea this year.

Instead, it is Didier Deschamps, who has ties with the club after spending a season playing at Stamford Bridge in 2000.

Furthermore, it is not the first time he has been linked with the hotseat, having reportedly been second choice behind Mourinho in 2004.

At just 43, Deschamps has a solid track record, especially given that he guided Marseille to their first French title in 18 years in 2010.

He also speaks English, which is a positive, and there are grumbles that his relationship at Marseille has taken a nosedive this season because of disagreements over transfers.

Deschamps certainly looks one of the more plausible outsiders in the Premier League odds to be next Chelsea manager.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.