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Italian trio also in the running for Chelsea job — reports

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Chelsea have had success with Italian managers before; here are three names in play for the job next summer.

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Following José Mourinho's sacking from Chelsea and Guus Hiddink's appointment as his replacement, rumours linking the club with a high-profile manager to take over in the summer have picked up even more momentum.

The two biggest names, and perhaps the Chelsea board's top two preferences are Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone, but at the moment, neither are all that likely to choose Chelsea.  That can obviously change — if there is any amount of money or control that could change their minds, it sounds like Chelsea would be willing to pay it and give it — but at the moment, Guardiola looks set for Manchester City while Simeone looks set to stay at Atlético Madrid.

Next option?  According to the London Evening Standard, Massimiliano Allegri is another candidate.  A fallback candidate, to be sure, but a candidate nonetheless.  After a wonderful season last year including a Champions League final appearance, Allegri had a rough start to this season with Juventus, as the Italian champions languished near the bottom of the table.  But led by good performances from players such as Chelsea loanee Juan Cuadrado and Chelsea rumoured target Paul Pogba, the Old Lady have been in steady recovery, getting back into title contention while also going strong in the Champions League.

Another option?  Allegri's success was build on the strong work of his predecessor, Antonio Conte, who's apparently also on our managerial shortlist. Conte, currently the manager of the Italian national team, might have a slight advantage over Allegri, as the latter recently signed a new contract with Juventus that ends in the middle of 2017, while Conte's deal with Italy ends in the summer after Euro 2016 (a natural potential stopping/quitting point).

A third option?  Fresh rumors from Tuesday morning claim that Chelsea have also made an approach for Roberto Mancini, currently in charge of Serie A-leading Internazionale.  Mancini of course has Premier League experience, winning the title with Manchester City in 2012, and he and Mourinho also have prior connections through the Inter job.  These rumors were apparently sparked by a training ground row between manager and players, not for the first time that's ever happened to the fiery Italian.

Should be an interesting next few months as we try to figure out the club's next direction.