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Dublin: 7°C Monday 21 September 2020

Paris meeting links Pellegrini to Chelsea - reports

Is the highly-rated Malaga boss next in line for the Stamford Bridge hot seat?

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CHELSEA HAVE LINED up Manuel Pellegrini as a possible replacement for Rafael Benitez according to reports today.

The Blues are believed to have made an approach for the Malaga coach, with reports suggesting representatives from both parties met in Paris to discuss a potential deal.

Pellegrini is widely regarded as one of the world’s top coaches and one of the favourites to succeed interim manager Benitez, even though Jose Mourinho’s departure from Real Madrid this summer is looking increasingly likely. The Chilean led Malaga to the last-eight of the Champions League this season, only to be cruelly denied a semi-final place by two late Borussia Dortmund goals last week.

Earlier in the week, Pellegrini’s agent Jesus Martinez played down talk of a move to London.

“Pellegrini has a contract and a release clause of four million euros,” Martinez told Onda Cero radio. “Nobody has come to Malaga with that four million euro asking permission to speak with Pellegrini, so we must keep our feet on the ground and look to continue the project.

“(But) the people in charge of the club must come up with real solutions.”

Interest in Pellegrini comes amid further indications that Mourinho could be reunited with owner Roman Abramovich at Stamford Bridge, where he won two Premier League titles and the FA Cup.

The Real Madrid coach has continued to drop hints that he won’t be in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu next season, and has made no secret of his desire to return to management in England. However, the former Chelsea manager’s demands could prove prohibitive.

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A reported annual salary of £12 million, as well as a get-out clause should they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, are said to be his primary expectations. Last night’s victory over Fulham moved Chelsea into third in the Premier League table – they now have a three-point cushion over fifth-placed Tottenham.

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