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Abramovich ready to spend big on Guardiola, with Blanc his back-up option - report

Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner is desperate to lure the Barcelona boss to Stamford Bridge with a huge offer, while the French coach is being lined up as an alternative

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to offer Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola a staggering £40million over four years to move to Stamford Bridge, with Laurent Blanc his other option to take over, according to The Sun.

Abramovich has made no secret of his admiration for Barcelona’s style of play and is desperate to lure Guardiola to west London as he bids to win the Champions League.

The £40m figure is after tax and would make Guardiola the highest-earning coach in the world, but there are claims that France coach Blanc is the leading candidate should Abramovich fail to capture his first choice.

Both managers' contracts expire in the summer, with Guardiola not yet confirming if he’ll stay at Camp Nou and Blanc only currently coaching France until the end of Euro 2012.

Seven managers have been and gone during the Russian billionaire’s reign, and if he does manage to lure Guardiola, he will have spent nearly £150m just on managers in the form of wages and compensation.

Most recently, Abramovich paid Andre Villas-Boas’ former club Porto £13m for his services, and then had to fork out over £9m to the 34-year-old in compensation when sacking him only eight months in to his three-year contract.

Barcelona coach Guardiola is renowned for keeping his options open, and usually only signs deals a year at a time with president Sandro Rosell, whereas, according to The Times, Blanc has a frosty relationship with the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noel le Graet, meaning he is more likely to be available.

Former Manchester United defender Blanc began his managerial career at Bordeaux, guiding them to a Champions League place in his first season in charge and winning the Ligue 1 title the following year.

It is reported that Chelsea have not contacted Blanc but that he would be interested in taking over at Stamford Bridge, but he is being touted for the job at Inter Milan, where he was also a player.

Former Inter and Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is being considered for the role, while other names dropped into the ring for the Chelsea post are former Blues midfielder Didier Deschamps, now managing Marseille, Everton boss David Moyes, Luciano Spalletti at Zenit St Petersburg, and Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone.

Chelsea are reportedly looking at Simeone’s star striker Falcao as a big summer signing, with the futures of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres at Stamford Bridge both under threat.