Last Updated: Wed, 21 Nov 2012 13:50
Roman Abramovich is aiming to appoint a replacement for Roberto Di Matteo by the end of Wednesday.
Press Association Sport understands Blues owner Abramovich has identified the man he wants to bring in, with Rafael Benitez the bookmakers' favourite to land the job. Abramovich is keen to have someone in place before Sunday's crunch Barclays Premier League game against Manchester City and Chelsea hope to make an announcement before Thursday.
Pep Guardiola is said to be Abramovich's number one target amid reports the Russian will try to convince the former Barcelona boss to end his one-year sabbatical early.
If he fails, Abramovich will have to appoint a stopgap measure, with Benitez and Avram Grant favourites to fill the void left by Di Matteo. Former Liverpool manager Benitez was quizzed in Abu Dhabi about whether an approach had been made.
He told Sport360: "You ask directly, I cannot answer directly. In football, a lot of people are talking so we will see what happens in the next few days.
"I am looking for a club that can challenge for trophies and Chelsea is one of these clubs. I have to talk with my agent and see what he has been doing the last couple of days. But I am just trying to go to a team that can win."
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