Jorge Sampaoli is once again being considered by Chelsea as their potential new manager as Roman Abramovich weighs up paying off Antonio Conte, according to reports.
The Italian coach is still widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, though he insists he will not walk out on the club and will instead make Chelsea pay off the remainder of his £9million-a-year salary.
Abramovich had hoped Conte might be prised away by another club, avoiding needing to pay compensation, but Real Madrids decision to appoint Julen Lopetegui has killed those hopes.
Now The Telegraph report that, with no more big jobs left for Conte to take over, Chelsea are expected to sack the Italian.
While former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri and Laurent Blanc have both been heavily linked with the job, Argentina boss Sampaoli is also in the mix to take over.
Sampaoli was interviewed for the Chelsea job two years ago before Conte got it, but still has plenty of admirers at Stamford Bridge.
A deal for the Argentina boss – who is currently in Russia with the national team for the World Cup – would be far simpler than trying to sign Sarri.
The ex-Napoli coach has got his lawyers working on a way to get him out of his contract with the Serie A club, who want at least £3.5m in compensation despite already appointing Carlo Ancelotti.
Chelsea fear that sticking by Conte could see the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and David Luiz all seek a move away.
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