Luis Enrique is in line to replace Antonio Conte as manager of Chelsea as the club’s board meet on Tuesday to discuss the Italian’s future.
Conte is on the brink of the sack following Chelsea’s 4-1 defeat at Watford on Monday evening, which came days after a 3-0 home loss to Bournemouth.
Diario Sport report former Barcelona coach Enrique is the London club’s first choice to replace Conte, and is ‘one step away’ from the job.
Enrique, 47, has also managed Roma and Celta Vigo, and is available immediately having left Barcelona last summer.
The report in Sport also suggests former Barcelona and Chelsea full-back Juliano Belletti will be appointed sporting director at Stamford Bridge.
Given Chelsea are set to play Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League, it raises the intriguing possibility of Enrique facing his successor Ernesto Valverde over two legs.
Enrique’s spell in charge of Barcelona was a successful one as he led them to two Spanish league titles, three Spanish Cups and the Champions League in 2015.
The back-to-back defeats have left Chelsea 19 points behind leaders Manchester City and six points off Manchester United in second.
They face a fight to preserve their top-four place as things stand, with Tottenham just one point behind them in fifth.
In an emotional post-match press conference at Watford, Conte – who questioned whether his players had big enough personalities to play for the club – insisted he does not fear the axe and even challenged the club to pull the trigger if they believe he is not good enough.
‘No, I’m not worried. I’m not worried about my job,’ said Conte.
‘I work every day, and I give 120 per cent. Okay? If this is enough, it’s okay.
‘Otherwise, the club can take a different decision. But I’m not worried. Tomorrow is another day. I can be the Chelsea coach or not. Which is the problem? My soul is clear.
‘I go to sleep without a problem that maybe, maybe, I could do this or that. I try to do everything. If it’s not good, the club can make a different decision. Life goes on.
‘To play football in a great club, it means you must have a personality because it’s simple to play when there is the confidence.
‘Especially in this type of moment, you can see who is (ready to play) for a great club. To play with personality and also to risk something.’
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