Abramovich wants Pep to deliver 'Barcelona in blue shirts'
Published 22:30 04/03/12 By Martin Lipton
Roman Abramovich will ask Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola to become the next full-time Chelsea boss after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked last night.
Villas-Boas' reign lasted just 257 days before being put out of his misery by Abramovich in a terse meeting at the club's Cobham training ground yesterday, less than 24 hours after the 1-0 defeat at West Brom.
The 34-year-old Portuguese's assistant, Roberto Di Mateo, was put in charge until the end of the season as the club announced "the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving".
And while that decision was a signal to the rebellious players that there will still be a close-season clear-out of the old guard at Stamford Bridge, Abramovich will seek to entice Guardiola to leave the Nou Camp and come to SW6 in the summer.
Former boss Jose Mourinho is also a contender - although it would mean Abramovich admitting his biggest mistake was getting rid of the "Special One" in 2007 - while the outsider is Borussia
Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp, who has impressed at the Bundesliga champions.
But Guardiola is Abramovich's stand-out first option, with the architect of the finest team on the planet the man the Russian believes can deliver his vision of "Barcelona in blue shirts".
In the mean-time, Di Matteo - sacked barely a year ago by West Brom when Villas-Boas' final opponents feared relegation under the Italian - has been handed the reins although former Stamford Bridge favourite Gianfranco Zola could be recruited to his temporary coaching staff.
The end for Villas-Boas came after he had taken training at Cobham, when he was called into a meeting with Abramovich, the Russian's chief lieutenant Eugene Tenebaum and chief executive Ron Gourlay.
A Chelsea statement put the Villas-Boas situation in perspective, with the club fifth and facing an uphill battle to stay in the Champions League as it added: "We aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts. With that in mind we felt our only option was to make a change at this time."
Once Villas-Boas was dismissed, Di Matteo was asked to take the helm, with the trio then joined by technical director Michael Emenalo to let the squad know what had happened.
It is understood that while Villas-Bioas carried the can, Abramovich holds the players responsible for their part in his failure, with the wholesale overhaul of the Chelsea squad now certain in the summer whoever is in charge.