Guus Hiddink remains Roman Abramovich's preferred choice to become Chelsea's new manager, and is still expected to take the role. But the Russian billionaire is considering other options should he fail to strike a deal.
The very strong likelihood is that former boss Hiddink will secure his release from his contract as coach of Turkey within the next two weeks and succeed Carlo Ancelotti by the last week of June at the latest -- the week before the players return for pre-season training on July 4.
It is believed he would prefer to be the head coach or manager rather than take the role of director of football. Interestingly, Hiddink has been at pains to point out that at 64 he is not too old to coach and has missed the day-to-day involvement of working for a club.
However, Abramovich, who is determined to bring Hiddink back in some capacity, has also now put in place a Plan B. Last week, a shortlist of candidates -- including Mark Hughes and Jose Mourinho -- was submitted to Abramovich by Chelsea's hierarchy.
Former boss Mourinho has a £22m release clause in his Real Madrid contract, while ex-player Hughes is still popular at the club.
A Turkish Football Federation spokesman said of Hiddink: "He always says the same thing, nothing concrete. But you also cannot hear from him, 'No, I'm not going anywhere, I will stay in charge of the Turkish national team'."