Chelsea legend Zola in frame for manager’s job

Chelsea could turn to Gianfranco Zola to become the club’s new permanent manager, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Rafael Benitez is the current incumbent of the Stamford Bridge hot seat but the Spaniard is only on a contract until the end of the season, having been given the title of interim manager upon replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November last year.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had pinned his hopes on appointing former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, however the Catalan’s decision to sign up with Bayern Munich has forced the Chelsea hierarchy to consider other options in greater details, the Mirror adds.

The likes of former manager Jose Mourinho, Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp and two managers who have recorded impressive wins over Chelsea this season, Swansea City’s Michael Laudrup and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, have all been linked with the post.

However, in an attempt to win back the favour of the club’s supporters, who have been alienated by the dismissal of former midfielder Di Matteo and the appointment of ex-Liverpool manager Benitez, Chelsea could turn to Zola, who starred as a player between 1996 and 2003.

Zola is currently in charge of Championship side Watford and has taken the Hornets to sixth in the table, inside the play-off zone, and the Italian – voted Chelsea’s greatest ever player – has in the past admitted he would like to manage his former club.

Previously manager of West Ham, Zola spent two years at Upton Park, keeping the Hammers in the Premier League before he was sacked in 2010. As a player, Zola scored 80 goals for Chelsea in 309 games, winning the FA Cup twice.

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