Chelsea open Blanc talks

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France boss Laurent Blanc is the leading contender to become the new manager of Chelsea, according to La Parisien.

After sacking Andre Villas-Boas at the start of the month, the Blues will look to appoint a permanent successor to the Portuguese boss this summer.

Despite reports linking the club with moves for Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, Blanc is now considered the No.1 contender for the job.

Blanc has overseen a change in France's fortunes since taking over in 2010, following a disastrous World Cup campaign.

Victory over Germany in February extended France's unbeaten run under Blanc to 18 matches, leaving the country with a decent outside chance heading into Euro 2012.

However, despite Blanc's success with a squad which rebelled against former boss Raymond Domenech during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, his contract with the national team expires after this summer's Euro finals.

Talks are understood to have been conducted over the past weekend between the former Manchester United defender and representatives from Stamford Bridge.

Since the sacking of Villas-Boas, interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has led Chelsea to one defeat in six, as well as to the Champions League quarter-finals.

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