Chelsea have sacked Roberto Di Matteo following the 3-0 defeat to Juventus on Tuesday evening which left the club's prospects of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages hanging by a thread.
The Blues needed a positive result in Turin to maintain hopes of defending their European crown, but Antonio Conte's side ran out comfortable winners with the English side looking likely to become the competition’s first ever holders to be eliminated at the group stage.
CHELSEA MANAGERS & THEIR REIGNS
LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI
ROBERTO DI MATTEO
Chelsea have turned to Benitez after Pep Guardiola indicated that he wants to continue his sabbatical from football and not return to management before next summer.
Despite reports that there has been no contact between the European champions and Benitez, it is understood that a deal is being brokered for the Spaniard to be installed at Stamford Bridge imminently.
Discussions are centring on the length of the contract and the personal terms. Sources have told Goal.com that Benitez is willing to take the job until the end of the season and he is not expected to be given a long-term deal.
Chelsea expect that the 52-year-old will be in the dugout for Sunday afternoon’s Premier League match at home to Manchester City.
Benitez was in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday afternoon speaking at a coaching seminar before preparing to return to the United Kingdom, where he lives with his family in Merseyside, overnight.
Speaking to Sport360, the Spaniard declared that he has an interest in the vacant Chelsea manager’s job and hinted that his representatives had been busy in recent days.
Despite winning the Champions League and FA Cup after taking over from Andre Villas-Boas in March 2012, Di Matteo is the latest in a long list of managers who have failed to appease owner Abramovich.
After winning seven of his eight opening Premier League games this season, two points from the last four league matches and seven points from a possible 15 in the Champions League sealed the Italian's fate.
The statement continued: "The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.
"The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager."