Chelsea are reported to have held discussions with representatives of Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini about the possibility of him taking over at Stamford Bridge.
Pellegrini, 59, put aside off-pitch uncertainty at the Spanish club to guide them into the Champions League quarter-finals in their first season in the competition, with only a late and controversial Borussia Dortmund goal sending them out.
Malaga's impressive performances, despite the financial problems that have seen them banned from future European competition, have won acclaim for the Chilean, whom the Blues are believed to rate very highly.
Reports in The Sun and the Daily Telegraph said talks between representatives of last season's Champions League winners and those of Pellegrini took place in Paris in an attempt to gauge how interested he would be in taking over at the London club.
Along with former Stamford Bridge boss Jose Mourinho and Everton's David Moyes, Pellegrini is one of the favourites to take over from interim manager Rafa Benitez.
He is under contract at Malaga until the end of next season and has a €4 million buy-out clause in his deal.
Asked about interest from Chelsea and other clubs - reportedly including Premier League champions Manchester City and Italian side Roma - Pellegrini's agent Jesus Martinez told Onda Cero radio earlier this week: "Pellegrini has a contract and a release clause of €4 million.
"Nobody has come to Malaga with that €4 million asking permission to speak with Pellegrini, so we must keep our feet on the ground and look to continue the project. [But] the people in charge of the club must come up with real solutions."
Martinez had said in February that Chelsea had made contact with Pellegrini through intermediaries.
Earlier this week, Pellegrini told a Spanish radio station: "I would like to finish my contract here and, when my career ends, to stay here and live in Malaga.
"I have an invaluable empathy with the people here, but for me the sporting project is important - and that has become distorted over time. My future is going to depend more on what Malaga do than on external offers."
In addition to Chelsea, Real Madrid boss Mourinho has been linked with both big-spending Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco.
Speculation over his future at the Bernabeu intensified when reports in the Spanish paper AS said he had told a coaching seminar that he would not be at Real next season, but the reports were played down.
Credit : ESPN