Carlo Ancelotti will be considered for a return to Chelsea for a second spell as manager at Stamford Bridge should the Real Madrid coach leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season, sources have told ESPN.
Chelsea announced former player and coach Frank Lampard as interim manager for the remainder of the season on Thursday having sacked Graham Potter last Sunday. Potter lasted just seven months in charge after replacing Thomas Tuchel last September.
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Sources have told ESPN that Chelsea's owners are considering as many as seven candidates to become the club's permanent manager, including Julian Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique and Mauricio Pochettino, and Ancelotti is also in the frame due to uncertainty over his future with the reigning European champions.
Ancelotti, who won a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2009-10 during his two-year stint as Chelsea manager, is preparing to face his former club in a Champions League quarterfinal first-leg in Madrid next Wednesday.
Sources close to Ancelotti have told ESPN the four-time Champions League-winning coach accepts he is under pressure at Madrid and that his position would be under threat if he failed to deliver another Champions League title this year having guided the Spanish club to a record 14th European Cup last season.
But the 63-year-old has restored his reputation as one of the game's great coaches at Madrid having returned to the club for a second period in charge in 2021 following an 18-month spell as Everton manager.
Sources have said that Chelsea are determined to retain the model of a coach working in tandem with a technical director -- a structure that Ancelotti has worked within throughout his coaching career.
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Alongside Ancelotti's successful track record, the Italian has also shown a readiness to work with younger coaches, including Paul Clement at Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid, as well as Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu -- opening up the prospect of a similar set-up at Chelsea.
Madrid's 4-0 Copa del Rey semifinal victory over Barcelona at the Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday has eased the immediate pressure on Ancelotti, but with the club trailing Barca by 12 points in the La Liga title race, even greater focus has been placed on retaining the Champions League title.
A failure to do so -- Madrid will face Bayern Munich or Manchester City in the semifinal if they overcome Chelsea in the quarters -- would likely leave Ancelotti fighting for his job at the Bernabeu, with Chelsea ready to consider him for a return to Stamford Bridge.