Abramovich to offer Guardiola 'take it or leave it' £18m salary
It would put Pep on more than double Fergie's pay but it still may not be enough to tempt him
CHELSEA owner Roman Abramovich will make one final attempt to lure Pep Guardiola to Stamford Bridge this summer. The Daily Express claims that the Russian will present the former Barcelona coach with a "take it or leave it" £18 million-a-year deal to become Chelsea's next manager.
The eye-watering sum would make Guardiola the best-paid boss in the world, dwarfing the £7.6m annual salary of Alex Ferguson, the top-earning manager in the Premier League.
Abramovich has been chasing Guardiola ever since he stepped down as Barcelona coach last summer. So far, however, the Spaniard has proved resistant to his charms as he enjoys a sabbatical in New York City.
It's no secret he's itching to get back into coaching but sources close to Guardiola suggest he might not want the aggravation of answering to Abramovich, one of football's more interfering owners.
According to the Express, an insider in the Abramovich camp has told them: "Roman still wants Pep. He is the No 1 choice and Chelsea will make him another big offer."
It's believed Guardiola will be offered a three-year deal by Chelsea - but that it will be the last such attempt by the club to entice him to Stamford Bridge as Abramovich's patience wears thin.
The Sun says that interim Chelsea coach Rafa Benitez will not be sacked by Abramovich before the end of the season, though the Spaniard "is a dead man walking" at Chelsea following the humiliating 2-0 home defeat by Swansea in the league cup.
However, even Abramovich, relaxing at his home on the Caribbean island of St Barts, can see the futility of getting rid of Benitez two months after he replaced Roberto Di Matteo. But can also see why 41-year-old Guardiola would turn down his overtures and choose a more stable club at which to relaunch his coaching career?
Chances are Chelsea will have to spend the summer searching for a coach brave enough - or stupid enough - to accept the most precarious position in football.