Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini is a shock contender to take the helm at Chelsea.

TalkSPORT cite reports in Spain when claiming that Blues owner Roman Abramovich has ‘sounded out’ the 59-year-old as a potential replacement for interim manager Rafa Benitez – if Jose Mourinho turns down the opportunity to return to west London.

Former Liverpool chief Benitez took over at Stamford Bridge after Roberto Di Matteo’s surprise departure, but has been unable to inspire the European Champions to a resurgence in form since November.

Pellegrini, meanwhile, has vast experience in the management game, taking charge of various teams over the past 25 years. Based in La Liga since 2004, the former Chile international defender has managed Villarreal, Real Madrid and Los Boquerones in more recent times.

And, after guiding Malaga to fourth-place and a spot in the Champions League, his stock in Spain has dramatically risen after an auspicious spell in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Betting firm SkyBet are already running a book on who will be the next Chelsea manager, and whilst Mourinho is favourite, Gus Poyet, David Moyes and Jurgen Klopp are also in contention.

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