Chelsea have started talks with Rafael Benitez as the club want to appoint him as Maurizio Sarri’s heir.
Rafael Benitez’s current deal with Newcastle United is due to expire at the end of the month and an agreement over a new contract has not been reached.
Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan has made a £350 million offer to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley, and the billionaire from Dubai is reportedly exploring alternative head coaches to the ex-Liverpool boss, including Jose Mourinho.
The Blues are making plans to appoint a new boss as Maurizio Sarri closes in on the move to Juventus.
Tuttosport reports that the Premier League giants are happy to let Sarri leave, but Roman Abramovich wants the Italian’s replacement to already be in place when his exit is announced.
And the same publication claims that a meeting between Chelsea’s board and Rafael Benitez to discuss a return to the Bridge is ‘imminent’.
Rafa Benitez spent five months as Chelsea boss after replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November 2012 and helped the club finish third in the Premier League and win the Europa League.
But the Spaniard was not a popular figure among Chelsea supporters, who displayed ‘Rafa out’ banners during matches at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri, meanwhile, was also on the receiving end of abuse from the Blues fans this season, despite guiding the club to the same exact result the Spanish boss had.
Maurizio Sarri has already expressed his wish to return to Italy and Chelsea are willing to let him join the Serie A champions if Juventus pay a £5 million compensation fee.