Guus Hiddink has told Chelsea’s hierarchy to move quickly and ‘transparently’ in their manager search, with Roman Abramovich’s efforts to recruit Antonio Conte gaining pace.
The club held productive talks this week with the Italy manager’s representatives, who are hopeful that an offer for him to take over in the summer will be made in the coming days.
Chelsea are yet to conclusively rule for Conte over their two other contenders, Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, though he is the frontrunner. A further consideration at the club is whether an announcement at such a vital stage in the season will prove disruptive.
Hiddink, the interim manager, dismissed those concerns on Friday, insisting he would lose no authority if Chelsea followed Manchester City’s lead by cutting off all speculation with an early disclosure.
When asked if he would like the situation resolved quickly, Hiddink said: ‘I am in favour, but it’s personal opinion that when things are done you make it transparent.’
He added: ‘That way it’s clear for everyone. The speculation about this candidate or that candidate, [if] it’s obvious, it’s clear, then everyone can do his job at his club, and he can prepare for the upcoming time.
‘For me it’s not a problem to be transparent when announcing who will be the next manager. The example is now Man City. They know Pep Guardiola is coming, and there were questions, but is Manuel Pellegrini losing more authority? No.’They were very happy and are going into the next round of the Champions League. If there was any trouble in relation to him losing authority, then you would have seen that against Dynamo Kiev (who City beat 3-1 on Wednesday).’
Chelsea face Southampton on Saturday with the possibility of making a long-awaited return to the top 10. Certainly, the Dutchman has achieved his aim of stabilising the club since Jose Mourinho’s sacking, with Chelsea nine games unbeaten in the league following his appointment.
John Terry is not expected to return from his hamstring injury until next Saturday against Stoke.