Chelsea owner Abramovich mulling over Benitez successor

The Russian billionaire is already “thinking about” potential new managers according to the Blues’ chairman Bruce Buck, though no decision will be made until the season is over
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has revealed club owner Roman Abramovich is already thinking about potential successors to Rafa Benitez.

The Spanish coach was installed as interim manager in November 2012, replacing Roberto Di Matteo, but his tenure has been permeated by off-field politics and fan hostility.

While the Blues’ Russian owner is already mulling over possible replacements, the search for a new manager – the 11th of the Abramovich era – won’t begin in earnest until the season is over.

"We really haven't started that yet, we all have some ideas, and certainly Roman Abramovich is thinking about it, but at the moment we're concentrating on the end of the season," Buck told Al Jazeera.

"We're really trying to get top three or top four place in the Premier League so we get in the Champions League next year.

"That's really important for us and of course we're still in two big competitions - UEFA cup and FA cup - so I think the real search for a new manager will begin once the season ends in the middle of May."

Speculation has been rife that current Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho could return to Stamford Bridge, and Buck refused to rule out the possibility of Chelsea appointing a former manager.

"I am completely open minded about it," said the Blues’ chairman when questioned about the possibility of a past employee returning to the west London club.