Chelsea will not give up their efforts to sign Pep Guardiola despite the fact that Manchester City are the outright favourites to land him, reports the Evening Standard.
Guss Hiddink was brought in almost instantly following Jose Mourinho's departure last month, but the veteran Dutch coach will only take over on an interim basis and is expected to leave in the summer.
With Guardiola set to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, the timing could not be more perfect for the Blues, but they appear to have been beaten to the punch by the Citizens, who have been putting foundations in place for the Spaniard's arrival for a number of years.
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Former Barcelona executives Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano, who maintain good a relationship with Guardiola, were brought to the Etihad on the proviso that they would increase their chances of landing him.
Many reports would have us believe the race is over, but, significantly, Guardiola confirmed that he has yet to sign a contract with any Premier League club, instead saying that he has "several offers".
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One of those offers is believed to be from Chelsea, who have made the Spaniard two promises if he agrees to take over at Stamford Bridge. The first is a massive contract, even bigger than the one he has on the table from City. The second is a significant transfer budget to build the kind of team he wants.
Guardiola's wife, Cristina Serra, could also aid Chelsea's chances of landing Guardiola as she is believed to prefer a move to London. The lure of the capital has been a significant factor for its clubs in the past with Alexis Sanchez opting for Arsenal over Liverpool in 2014 for the same reason.
Barcelona in blue
Roman Abramovich has always seen Guardiola as his dream manager despite his affinity towards Mourinho. The 44-year-old, who has won 19 trophies with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, could deliver the 'Barcelona in blue' that the Russian has always dreamed of.
That is probably why he is pulling out all the stops while he still has a chance, no matter how remote he is.
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