Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini has emerged as a shock managerial target for Chelsea.
Current interim boss Rafa Benitez is expected to make way at the end of the season - possibly even earlier - after failing to keep up with the two Manchester clubs in the race for the Premier League title.
Recent reports have suggested Blues owner Roman Abramovich will seek to bring back Jose Mourinho, whose future at Real Madrid is uncertain.
But according to Spanish news site Punto Pelota, Abramovich has sounded out Mourinho's predecessor at the Bernabeu, Pellegrini, as a possible alternative in case The Special One rejects the opportunity to return to Stamford Bridge.
The Chilean guided Villarreal to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2006 and helped Malaga qualify for Europe's top club competition for the first time in their history last season.
He has admirably dealt with the club's well-documented financial difficulties, which forced the sale of Santi Cazorla to Arsenal, to take his current side to the next phase of the Champions League.