Chelsea deny making contact with Pep Guardiola over manager’s job as Roberto Di Matteo prepares for Shakhtar
Roberto Di Matteo will head into Chelsea’s crucial Champions League showdown with Shakhtar Donetsk with the spectre of Pep Guardiola again in the background.
Guardiola, the former Barcelona manager, has reportedly told close associates that he is open to the idea of taking over at Stamford Bridge when he ends his self-imposed sabbatical next summer.
The 41 year-old quit the Nou Camp earlier this year after securing 14 titles in four seasons and was sounded out by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich before opting to spend the next 12 months in New York with his family.
Guardiola’s rebuffal ensured Di Matteo, who guided Chelsea to last season’s Champions League trophy, signed a two-year deal with the club but he has always had to contend with theories that he is merely keeping the seat warm for the Spaniard.
And rumours have now intensified after Di Matteo’s team were comprehensively outplayed by Shakhtar at the Donbass Arena last month, with their 2-1 defeat raising fears that Chelsea could be the first holders to ever be knocked out at the group stage.