Chelsea prepare record-breaking offer for Pep Guardiola

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Roman Abramovich will make Pep Guardiola a 'take it or leave it' £18 million-a-year deal to become Chelsea's next manager in the summer, reports the Daily Express.

If agreed, the former Barcelona boss stands to become the world's highest-paid coach, earning a whopping £54million over three years - which is more than double the salary of Sir Alex Ferguson, who is currently the biggest earner in British football.

The Blues owner is refusing to give up hope of bringing Guardiola to Stamford Bridge, even though the 41-year-old rejected three offers from the Russian billionaire last summer, after leaving the Nou Camp for a year's sabbatical.

Rafa Benitez's job is safe for the moment, but the interim manager - appointed until the end of the season - has no chance of getting the job permanently, no matter what he wins this year, if Guardiola accepts the European champions' proposal.

"Roman still wants Pep," a source close to Abramovich told the Daily Express. "He is the number one choice and Chelsea will make him another big offer.

"Benitez will stay until the end of the season. His task is to finish in the top four and also to win a trophy."

Chelsea will face a four-way fight for the Spaniard's signature, though, with Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Manchester City also in the hunt to recruit Guardiola.

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