Diego Simeone Chelsea: Blues were in talks with first-choice Jose replacement before sacking Mourinho

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Chelsea have reportedly been in talks with Diego Simeone for the past month after identifying the Atletico Madrid manager as Jose Mourinho’s long-term successor.

Guus Hiddink has been reappointed as replacement to Mourinho, sacked on Thursday after Chelsea’s worst start to a league season in 37 years, on an interim basis.

SEE MORE: New Chelsea manager: Guus Hiddink reappointed as Jose Mourinho replacement

But the 69-year-old is highly unlikely to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the season and so Roman Abramovich has been sounding out Simeone, according to The Express.

The Argentine is regarded as one of the best managers on the planet after working miracles at Atletico, leading them to the La Liga title and Champions League final in 2013.

Abramovich had set his sights on Pep Guardiola again, having failed to land the Spaniard when he left Barcelona in 2012, but has acknowledged that he is heading elsewhere.

Guardiola has made a decision on his future at Bayern Munich, where his contract expires next summer, and is well on his way to agreeing to join Manchester City, as The Telegraph reports.

The Express claim that Simeone is now Chelsea’s number-one target, with Abramovich hoping that his passion will unite a fanbase that has been angered by Mourinho’s departure.

And the 45-year-old is said to be excited at the prospect of testing himself in the Premier League after privately admitting that he may have taken Atletico as far as they can go.

Although he is one of the world’s hottest managerial properties, Simeone’s appointment would come with huge risk factors. He does not speak English and can be very abrasive.

He has had several fallouts during his time at Madrid, most notably Mario Mandzukic as Sky Sports reports. The last thing that Chelsea need is another manager who may split the dressing room.

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