FRANK LAMPARD is leading the race to replace Juventus-bound Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea – but faces competition from a number of top managers.
The Blues legend is the bookies’ favourite ahead of the likes of ex-Juve boss Max Allegri and two-time Stamford Bridge chief Jose Mourinho.
Watford’s Javi Gracia, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo and England No2 Steve Holland are also in the running.
Chelsea will demand a top-four finish from their new manager – even with their transfer ban and loss of star man Eden Hazard.
Here, SunSport looks at the six bosses the Blues could turn to next season.
Frank Lampard 1/6
FANS and players alike are desperate for their record goalscorer to replace Sarri this summer.
Having taken over at Derby just over 12 months ago, Chelsea chiefs are concerned the 40-year-old is not experienced enough for the job.
But an impressive debut season in the Championship – which ended in play-off final heartache to Aston Villa – has proved his credentials.
And Lamps has got the best out of Chelsea loanees Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori at Derby.
Rams owner Mel Morris insists Lampard’s future lies at Chelsea – but he does not want to lose him just yet.
Max Allegri 5/1
ITALIAN was sacked by Juventus last month after five years in charge.
He won five Serie A titles, four Italian Cups and two Italian Super Cups but missed out on the Champions League, finishing runner-up twice.
The 51-year-old has spent his entire 16-year managerial career in Italy, bossing AC Milan and Cagliari before Juve.
He is already preparing himself for a Premier League move by learning English and would jump at the chance to manage the Blues after speaking to close pal and former boss Antonio Conte about life in the capital.
Javi Gracia 14/1
TOOK Watford to the FA Cup final last season where they were thrashed by a rampant Manchester City.
But that result does not take away from an impressive campaign in which the Hornets finished 11th.
Spaniard Gracia, 49, has enjoyed spells in charge of ten clubs before Watford including Malaga and Rubin Kazan most recently.
Hornets are confident he will be their head coach next season.
Jose Mourinho 16/1
THE SPECIAL ONE is amazingly open to a THIRD stint in charge of Chelsea.
SunSport revealed Mourinho, 56, would seriously consider returning to Stamford Bridge to replace Sarri.
The Portuguese, linked with a shock move to Newcastle if they are taken over, won three Premier League titles, three League Cups and the FA Cup during two spells and five years at Chelsea.
Mourinho was axed for a second time in 2015 after a disastrous start to his title defence.
An ugly row with then-club doctor Eva Carneiro over her decision to treat Hazard during a 2-2 draw with Swansea created a toxic atmosphere before he was given the chop.
Steve Holland 16/1
ENGLAND’S No2 spent six years as a Chelsea coach between 2011 and 2017 and is being considered for the top job.
Holland, 49, quit Stamford Bridge two years ago to work full-time with Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
His assistance helped Southgate steer England to a shock World Cup semi-final last year where they were beaten by Croatia.
Nuno Espirito Santo 20/1
SUNSPORT revealed in March Chelsea were lining up a move for Wolves’ manager.
Nuno has done an exceptional job leading the club to a seventh-place finish just one year after winning promotion from the Championship.
LATEST CHELSEA NEWS
But the 45-year-old has spent well over £100million in two seasons to get Wolves into Europe.
He would have to make do with Chelsea’s squad as it is if he were to take over as the Blues have been slapped with a two-window transfer ban.
Nuno began his managerial career with Portuguese club Rio Ave in 2012 before stints at Valencia and Porto.