Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly set his sights on making Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone the club’s new long-term manager should Jose Mourinho be sacked.
According to The Times, the Blues could offer Guus Hiddink a second short-term stint to see the club until the end of the season before targeting Simeone next summer.
Chelsea won the Premier League last season but sit 16th after 16 games this term, only a point above the relegation zone.
Mourinho is still in charge, but failure to beat 19th-placed Sunderland at home on Saturday could spell the end for the Portuguese and the Chelsea board are said to be planning for his departure.
Hiddink previously led Chelsea on an interim basis to FA Cup success in 2009, while former Tottenham Hotspur head coach Juande Ramos is a surprise name linked with a short-term role should Mourinho get the boot.
The likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola have also been linked with succeeding Mourinho, but Ancelotti appears set to replace Guardiola in charge of Bayern Munich next summer.
Guardiola is expected to leave Bayern at the end of the season and Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Manchester City are thought to be leading the race for the Spaniard’s signature.