Pep Guardiola was offered Roberto Di Matteo’s job at Chelsea after they were humbled 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League in October. The former Barcelona coach – who has always been Abramovich’s No1 target to replace Di Matteo at Stamford Bridge – was approached in the aftermath of the defeat in Donetsk on October 23.
Chelsea were so confident that the deal would be concluded for Guardiola, who has been in New York on sabbatical, that they started making plans for Di Matteo’s exit. Although Guardiola wanted to wait until the new year before returning to management, Chelsea wanted him sooner and that has proved to be the stumbling block. After firing Di Matteo this morning, Abramovich wants him to start work immediately, but it is not straightforward.
The fact that Guardiola is enjoying himself in New York, but it has not prevented him opening talks with Chelsea over the position. They were so far advanced after Chelsea’s defeat against Shakhtar that Abramovich became increasingly excited and confident that he had finally landed the Catalan coach. Abramovich has become obsessed with Guardiola’s work and wants him at Chelsea to emulate his achievements at the Nou Camp.
Chelsea had started the season with the chance to win seven trophies and were already down to five after defeats in the Community Shield and the shocking 4-1 Super Cup defeat against Atletico Madrid in Monaco.Guardiola won 14 trophies at Barcelona, including three La Liga titles, two Champions League titles and the FIFA World Club Cup.