Pellegrini eyeing up the West Ham hotseat
Manuel Pellegrini is preparing for talks with West Ham United, and his willingness to take over the east London club makes him the most likely person to replace David Moyes as Hammers boss.
A Premier League-winning coach, Pellegrini has a glittering CV which includes taking Villarreal and Manchester City to the final four of the Champions League for the first time in their respective histories as well as guiding Malaga to the quarter-finals of European football's premier club competition.
The only significant blot on Pellegrini's career was his sacking by Real Madrid, largely the product of a Copa del Rey elimination by third-tier Alcorcón, but the Chilean also managed to guide the Bernabeu club to their highest ever La Liga points total.
His main rival for the top job at West Ham also endured a shortened spell in charge at Madrid, but despite Rafael Benitez's frustration with the ownership at Newcastle, there remain a number of obstacles to his appointment and a feeling that the Hammers are being used to generate leverage in contract negotiations.
Benitez has 12 months remaining on his contract on Tyneside but it is understood that the Spaniard's entourage believe he would win a case for constructive dismissal should he walk out on the Magpies, allowing him to leave for free. That said, fan favourite Benitez is not expected to go to such extremes and is understood to be willing to extend his Newcastle contract should new transfer budgets be agreed.
Pellegrini is boss of Hebei China Fortune in the Chinese Super League but would be allowed to leave for nominal compensation.