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Next Chelsea manager: The top candidates to replace Maurizio Sarri as Allegri rules himself out

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As each day passes, it is growing even more likely that Maurizio Sarri will not be Chelsea head coach next season.

The Italian has never fully won over the Blues supporters, despite Europa League success as well as clinching third spot in the Premier League table behind the formidable Manchester City and Champions League winners Liverpool.

His style of play at times left a lot to be desired for the fans, especially after suffering heavy defeats to City and Bournemouth in quick succession, while there has been a real lack of a bond between himself and the match-going supporters throughout the campaign.

Read More  

Reports from Italy suggest that Sarri is already on his way out the Blues and is set to take the role at Juventus, earning himself a return to Serie A.

But who are the main contenders to replace Sarri at Stamford Bridge, should he depart west London?

Rafa Benitez

Positive: One of the best tacticians in the Premier League, has proven he can operate with little resources which could be beneficial given the threat of a two-transfer window ban.

He has previous experience of managing the Blues and wouldn't cost a single penny as his contract at Newcastle United expires soon and there's been no sign of him extending.

Negative: There would be an almighty backlash from the majority of Chelsea supporters. Despite leading the Blues to Europa League success in 2013 during an interim spell he still wasn't welcomed by all.

This stems from his time in charge of Liverpool and isn't given a nice reception each time he returns to Stamford Bridge.

Read More   Frank Lampard

Positive: For many Chelsea fans, Lampard is the front runner and to have a Chelsea legend in charge would be the perfect way to reinvigorate the connection between supporters and the head coach.

He has shown at Derby County that he plays good football, willing to give youth a chance and if the transfer ban continues then he will look at the loan players to come back.

Negative: The main negative is just experience. The former Blues midfielder has only one year of management under his belt, finishing sixth in the Championship and then losing the play-off final to Aston Villa.

It would be a real step up to manage Chelsea, dealing with the added pressure and also in European football with Champions League returning to Stamford Bridge.

Read More   Massimiliano Allegri

Positive: Just like Antonio Conte, the Blues would be a getting a winner in the form of Allegri. He has overseen a Juventus side who have dominated Serie A, winning it five times in a row.

Four Coppa Italia's as well, while taking Juve to the final of the Champions League twice, prove that the Blues would be getting a very good coach.

Negatives: Also like Conte, Allegri is used to getting his way at times and bringing in the players that he wants to create a winning team.

A feisty Italian who might not see the current Chelsea situation as a particularly great project to be involved in right now. In fact, the manager has confirmed that he won't be at Stamford Bridge next season, as he is taking a break from football in order to concentrate more on his family.

"I will take a year off to recharge the batteries and take my personal life back in hand," he told reporters, as quoted by Goal .

Read More   Patrick Vieira

Positives: Seen as one of the brightest up and coming coaches in the game at the moment, and someone who knows the Premier League very well through his years of playing in it.

Has been getting plenty of experience in other countries.

(Image: (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images))

Negatives: Not a great amount of experience, with just time at New York City before making the switch to Nice in Ligue 1, where they just finished seventh.

Also, there is a pretty strong Arsenal connection there, let's not forget!

Read More Roman Abramovich and Chelsea Javi Gracia

Positives: One of the brightest coaches in the Premier League.

Coming off a fine season with Watford in which they sealed an 11th place finish and reached the FA Cup final.

Negatives: Doesn't have much experience managing the very big names. That could be a problem given the strong figures within the Blues dressing room.

Also a lack of trophies to his name, won't be long before the Chelsea fans turn on him if progress isn't made in the Premier League and in Europe.

Jose Mourinho

Positives: Another born winner who time after time has won trophies, not least with Chelsea, and has a great success rate as a manager.

Also, knows the club inside out, respected by many and could be very useful in getting Chelsea through the transfer ban.

The Portuguese manager is on the lookout for a new role, having left Manchester United last season

"What I have in mind is that I would like to be back in the summer, in June, for a new club, for a new pre-season," he told beIN Sports.

Negatives: Would you really want Mourinho to come back a third time? Left under a big cloud last time, while Roman Abramovich has already shelled out a lot of money on him.

Connection with the fans not what it was, but his style of play feels a little outdated for the way football has gone in the past few years.

Nuno Espirito Santo

Positives: Has done an exceptional job at Wolves, getting them into the Premier League and then securing European football in just one season.

Likes to play with three at the back, something Chelsea were successful with, and Wolves' record against the top six shows he has given them a ruthless side.

Negatives: Again, still a little inexperienced when it comes to managing at the very top of the game. Would maybe need time to build a project at the Blues, something that Chelsea have never really given time to do.

Read More   Steve Holland

Positives: Having been part of the coaching staff for several years, he is another who knows the club inside out and has been part of a winning formula at the club as well.

Known for his tactical awareness as well, he has been key in Chelsea winning the Premier League, while being England's number two has helped them to the World Cup and Nations League semi-finals.

Negatives: Always really been a number two, and sometimes even the most successful of assistant managers have struggled to step up into the number one position.

Erik ten Hag

Positives: The way that Ajax played their football in the Champions League this season was lauded by everyone who watched them.

Stylish, a young team and impressive in everything they did, they certainly won over a lot of a people and Ten Hag was the architect of that.

Showed he would be happy to play the younger players as well.

Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag

Negatives: It's a big step going from Eredivisie to the Premier League, even though his showings in the Champions League prove he could do it.

The way that Ajax capitulated against Spurs in the semi-final could well be a warning also.

Read More Laurent Blanc

Positives: A World Cup winner as a player and had great success with PSG as their head coach.

Also a superb season with Bordeaux as he guided them to the Ligue 1 title in 2009.

Blanc on the touchline in the Champions League against Chelsea

Negatives: Has been out of the game for some time, having been linked with the Blues job last summer before Sarri got the position.

Last managed in 2019 and it would be a bit of a risk to throw him into the role.

Ernesto Valverde

Positives: Took Espanyol to the UEFA Cup final and then his time at Barcelona has been full of trophies, taking more silverware.

Two La Liga trophies and a Copa del Rey title to his name.

Negatives: Not necessarily an exciting choice for the Blues supporters if he was given the job.

Also, Barcelona haven't really developed too much during Valverde's time and they have capitulated a couple of times while ahead in the Champions League.

And one who it's not going to be...

Julen Lopetegui

Former Real Madrid boss was linked with the Chelsea post.

However, the Spaniard has been named as the new Sevilla manager on a three-year deal.

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