Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is on the hunt for yet another new manager after sacking Roberto Di Matteo. The Russian billionaire has shown his ruthless side once more as Di Matteo, who won the Champions League and FA Cup last season, was given the chop following a run of two wins in eight games, with Rafa Benitez the early favourite in the next Chelsea manager betting.
Pep Guardiola has also been touted for the job, with Bet Victor pricing him 10/3, and Abramovich is a big admirer of the Spaniard. The former Barcelona manager is currently on a year-long sabbatical from football in New York though and he isn't due to meet with his agent until next month to discuss his future.
It isn't a certainty that Guardiola would want the job anyway and Rafa Benitez would appear to be a possible solution, with Victor Chandler making him the 4/6 favourite to take over at Stamford Bridge. Benitez actually turned down a short-term deal to replace Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea last season but he has been without a club since losing his job at Inter in 2010 and he is known to want to return to management in England.
Di Matteo was the man that became the short-term fix when Villas-Boas was sacked in March and he immediately delivered the competition that Abramovich sought most - the Champions League. The Russian had no choice but to give him the job on a full-time basis in May and things had looked bright at the start of the 2012/13 season but a run of two wins in eight has seen Chelsea drop to third in the Premier League.
The straw that broke the camel's back was Chelsea's 3-0 defeat to Juventus in Group E of the Champions League though and they now need to beat Nordsjaelland and hope Juve lose to Shakhtar if they are to avoid become the first defending champions to fail to get out of their group the following season.
There is clearly no room for sentiment at Chelsea but there are a couple of managers that would represent sentimental solutions. Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is a 33/1 chance to return to the club where he enjoyed such success and he remains as popular as ever with fans. He is a keen on a return to England but he has enjoyed a fine spell with Real Madrid and his relationship with Abramovich had deteriorated significantly by the end of his spell at Stamford Bridge.
Another former boss is in the mix as Guus Hiddink is priced 40/1 after he won the FA Cup with Chelsea during a caretaker spell in charge in 2009. The Dutchman enjoys a good relationship with Abramovich but it may be difficult to prize him away from a lucrative contract at big-spending Russian club Anzhi.
Avram Grant also enjoys a good relationship with Abramovich and he could be worth a look at 25/1 with Victor Chandler. Grant wouldn't be the most popular of picks with fans but he could represent a short-term fix until a 'big name' like Guardiola becomes available. Meanwhile, the likes of Harry Redknapp (2/1) and Fabio Capello (66/1) are names that have been mentioned but it is Benitez who leads the way with bookies.
4/6 Rafa Benitez
2/1 Harry Redknapp
10/3 Pep Guardiola
25/1 Avram Grant
33/1 Jurgen Klinsmann
33/1 Jose Mourinho
33/1 David Moyes
33/1 Nicolas Anelka
40/1 Frank Lampard
40/1 Guus Hiddink
66/1 Fabio Capello
66/1 Dennis Wise
66/1 Laurent Blanc
66/1 Cesare Prandelli
66/1 Dan Petrescu
Odds supplied by BetVictor.com, who provide a variety of football specials betting markets.
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