Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is keen to lure Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola and sporting director Txiki Beguiristain to the club.
The Blues’ billionaire paymaster has targeted the Nou Camp duo as he seeks to usher in a new era at the end of the season when Carlo Ancelotti is expected to move on.
Guardiola is on course to land his second treble in three years at the Catalan giants, but is aware that his time there is nearing its natural conclusion.
Guardiola said recently: “I think my time is ending here in Barcelona. I’m fine here, but when you’re at a club like this you cannot stay for too long.
“Next year will be the fourth consecutive season as coach of Barcelona.
“Such a club must have a lot of courage to take a coach for so long, because the players get tired of coaches and vice-versa.”
Beguiristain held talks with Chelsea around the time that Frank Arnesan’s departure to take over as director of football at Hamburg was announced in November.
Blues officials see the former Barcelona winger as key to getting Guardiola and are willing to give Beguiristain unprecedented power behind the scenes to restructure the methods at the training ground and academy along the lines of those that have served Barca so well.
However, with both men under contract for at least one more season, Abramovich will have to compensate the Catalan club significantly and probably give assurances that they will not poach any of Barcelona’s younger talent.