Abramovich to pursue Simeone

Diego Simeone

Michaela Caine

Chelsea have set their sights on Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone as their next permanent manager.

The Premier League champions are on the look out for a new boss after Guus Hiddink replaced Jose Mourinho at the helm last month.

Mourinho was dismissed with the Blues mired in 16th in the table after a disastrous start to their title defence, with Hiddink taking over until the end of the season. And according to Spanish media, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has put Atletico boss Simeone at the top of his wish list.

The Argentinian has claimed the Europa League, La Liga, Super Cup, Copa del Ray and the Spanish Super Cup since taking charge at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in 2011.

Abramovich had set his sights on Guardiola after the Spaniard revealed he would be leaving Bayern Munich when his contract expires at the end of the season.

But it appears the Blues have given up on landing the Spaniard, turning their attention to Simeone in a boost for rivals Manchester City and Manchester United who both want Guardiola.


Meanwhile, new Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has targeted Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard as a possible summer signing, and the Frenchman may offer a swap deal involving Gareth Bale to get his man. Bale was reported to be "intensely disappointed" at Rafael Benitez's Real Madrid sacking on Monday.

The Welshman has no plans to leave Real, but, his future at the club will hinge largely on how Zidane deploys him between now and the end of the season."

Manchester United won't wait that long to make a move, and are hoping the chance to work with compatriot Ryan Giggs could tempt the Wales international to Old Trafford as early as this month for a cool £75 million.

But United aren't the only interested party - Chelsea also want Bale, with the Premier League champions aware of how much Zidane wants Eden Hazard at Madrid.

Los Blancos are readying a £100m summer offer for the Belgian, and Chelsea's reported interest in Bale might see the clubs line up a summer agreement.