Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola link adds to the heat on Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

By Jim Gracey

Under pressure Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is facing the humiliating prospect of being replaced by Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola if he fails to quickly halt the Premier League champions’ tailspin into the bottom six.

While club owner Roman Abramovich has been publicly standing by Mourinho amid the worst start to a title defence in Premier League history, his support and patience could be tested if Chelsea lose their next league game at home to Liverpool this weekend.

Reports in London say intermediaries, working independently and not at the request of Abramovich or Chelsea, are already attempting to gauge whether Guardiola would be interested in taking over at Stamford Bridge when his Bayern Munich contract expires at the end of the season.

The dilemma for Abramovich would be who to appoint as interim manager with quality options severely limited.

There is also the question of compensation to Mourinho in the first year of a new five-year deal, worth £30m. Chelsea had to pay Mourinho around £18m in compensation when Abramovich first sacked him in 2007.

Adding to Mourinho’s woes, he is facing further FA disciplinary action after his latest erratic outburst in the 2-1 defeat by West Ham on Saturday, adding to the growing feeling that the Portuguese is losing control of himself and the club. 

Already under FA sanction for criticising referees, he was sent to the Upton Park stands for an outburst against ref Jonathan Moss and could now face a touchline ban or fine.

Bayern have not given up hope of convincing Guardiola to stay in Germany but the Spaniard (44) wants to manage in the Premier League and is already thought to be a target of both Manchester clubs.Under

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