ABRAMOVICH has told Pep Guardiola he will give him anything he wants to take over at Chelsea next summer.
Abramovich, Blues owner is desperate to land the Bayern Munich boss as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor. Manchester City are favourites to grab the Spaniard but chiefs at Stamford Bridge still reckon they can steal a march and snare the most highly-prized manager in world football. Guardiola, 44, formally confirmed on Sunday his intention to leave Bayern at the end of the season.
Chelsea believe the Catalan has already given a verbal undertaking to his former Nou Camp bosses Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, that he will join them at the Etihad in the summer. But Abramovich will not give up the hunt until pen is put to paper, even though Guardiola refused to fall for Chelsea’s embrace when he pre-announced his departure from Barcelona in 2012.
Guus Hiddink will today meet his new players on the training ground for the first time since taking over for the rest of the season, in his second spell as interim manager. But if Abramovich is forced to give up on Guardiola, his likely second choice, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, raised the stakes as he played hard to get.
Simeone, who signed a five-year deal in March, said: “It’s not easy to leave Atletico. More than a team we are a family. “Why can’t I be here longer? Why did I choose a five-year contract? “Because I see a club that is ‘virgin’ and have the ability to open up new sources to strengthen in.”