Blues move nearer to identifying new coach.
Chelsea have moved a step closer to finding a long-term replacement for ‘interim’ head coach Rafa Benitez at Stamford Bridge next season, with Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini their No 1 target, says the Guardian.
The highly-experienced Chilean has been at the La Liga outfit since November 2010, guiding the club into this season’s UEFA Champions League, where they came within minutes of reaching the semi-finals, only to be cruelly knocked out by Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.
And, prior to coaching Malaga the 59-year-old was in charge at La Liga giants Real Madrid for one season, where despite winning 36 of the 48 games that he was in charge of in the Spanish capital, Pellegrini was still dismissed in the summer of 2010.
Pellegrini would bring with him to west London a fine record in Europe’s premier club competition, where he is the only trainer to have ever taken to debutants into the knockout stages of the tournament with Villarreal and then Malaga.
And with the former, Pellegrini came within inches of making it all the way to the final in 2006, only to be eliminated again in painful circumstances against Arsenal in the semi-finals.
He also speaks fine English, and the Guardian claim Chelsea have already met with his agent about taking over from Rafa Benitez in the summer.