Mark Hughes has emerged as a shock candidate to take over at Chelsea, with the Welshman firmly part of the club's early discussions over a potential new manager.
According to The Guardian, the Blues are seriously considering the Stoke City manager's credentials, along with more established targets such as Diego Simeone, Antonio Conte and Max Allegri.
Regardless of Guus Hiddink's results in his interim spell, Chelsea have decided that he is not a long-term option and are compiling a shortlist of managers who could ensure they return to the Champions League.
Hughes, who spent three seasons with the Blues as a player, was muted as a potential appointment at Stamford Bridge as far back as 2007 and his CV stands up to greater scrutiny now after his sterling work in transforming Stoke's style of play.
Chelsea fear it could be too difficult to prise Simeone away from Atletico, who has a contract until 2020, while Conte is expected to be available this summer should he step down as manager of Italy after Euro 2016.