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Hiddink has done a fine job since taking over at Chelsea..

Chelsea: who will become the next manager at Stamford Bridge?

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There is little doubt Chelsea’s interim manager, Guus Hiddink, has helped to restore Chelsea’s mojo since taking over - or at least part of it. The Dutchman has suffered only one defeat in his latest spell as Blues boss, the 2-1 loss to Laurent Blanc’s Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last week.

Under Hiddink, Chelsea have managed to earn back some of the respect they lost under Jose Mourinho, who looks likely to manage Manchester United next season. After putting up one of the worst title defences in Premier League history, the west Londoners are undefeated in the league since losing to Leicester City on December 14.

They now sit 12th, 14 points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and very much still in contention in the FA Cup and Champions League.

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However, it has always been made clear Hiddink’s reign would only last until the summer - so who is the most likely of the various top managers linked with Stamford Bridge to take over?

Here's a look at four prime candidates.

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Diego Simeone

Chelsea have been long been linked with the Atletico Madrid manager since the start of Mourinho’s downfall.

The Argentine has emphatically stamped his mark on La Liga by creating a side capable of competiting with Real Madrid and Barcelona for the league title.

Simeone's style of play is tough - it demands hard work rate, desire and passion from each of his players. It might not always be the most pleasing to watch, especially when compared to the silky smooth Barca, but the 45-year-old's tactics breed success.

UEFA Champions League - "PSV v Atletico Madrid"

Since joining the club in 2011, Atletico has won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, La Liga, Copa Del Rey and the Super Copa de Espana, also reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 2014.

It goes without saying Simeone would be a brilliant appointment for Chelsea, but the question remains whether owner Roman Abramovich would hire a man whose style of play differs so greatly to his.

Antonio Conte

As the season enters its latter stages, Chelsea have also been linked with former Juventus player, manager and current Italy national team boss, Antonio Conte.

The Italian enjoyed a decorated 13-year playing career, winning the Champions League once and Serie A five times as captain of the Old Lady, eventually taking over as manager.

Italy v Romania - International Friendly

Conte won Serie A three times and the Coppa Italia in 2013 during his tenure at the Juventus helm, establishing a reputation for his tactical awareness and love for the 3-5-2 formation.

In August 2014, just one month after leaving the Serie A outfit, the Italian Football Federation announced that Conte would take over the national team - could Euro 2016 be his last tournament as manager?

Massimiliano Allegri

Chelsea boast a rich history of Italian managers, from Roberto Di Matteo, to Carlo Ancelotti, to Gianluca Vialli - and they each brought the club much success.

Allegri could be another addition to this start-studded Italian line-up. The 48-year-old succeeded the aforementioned Conte at Juventus, leading the club to domestic and Coppa Italia success in his first season.

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Whilst the Chelsea job holds an array of attractive benefits, such as a the club's world-class players, financial backing and fans, the fact Juventus continue to dominate Serie A and perform well in the Champions League suggests Allegri might be wise to stay put.

Ronald Koeman

Probably the least likely of the four managers to take over as Chelsea manager, but the Dutchman shouldn't be overlooked.

Koeman enjoyed a glorious career as a player, featuring for Barcelona under football icon Johan Cruyff and helping the club to four back-to-back La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994, also scoring the winner against Sampdoria in the 1992 European Cup final.

Southampton v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

The Southampton boss, after winning trophies in Holland, Portugal and Spain, has been a revelation since taking over at St Mary's, instilling a possession-based ethos and belief in his youthful side.

What Chelsea have always lacked is a long-term project, regarding their academy and young talent coming through the ranks - and Koeman could be just the man for the job.

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Topics:
Premier League
Frank Lampard
Didier Drogba
Football
Chelsea

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