Guardiola sees funny side in Chelsea link

Guardiola sees funny side in Chelsea link

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has laughed off speculation linking him with the vacant Chelsea post.

The 41-year-old is considered one of the bookies’ favourites for the Stamford Bridge vacancy alongside former Blues boss Jose Mourinho and ex-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

Guardiola has enjoyed incredible success during his time at the Barcelona helm, but has only ever signed one-year contract extensions at the Nou Camp.

Speculation is rife over his future once again as he has yet to put pen to paper on a new deal, but he today laughed off talk that he would replace Andre Villas-Boas, who left the club on Sunday and was replaced by Roberto Di Matteo until the end of the season.

Asked if there had been any contact, he said sarcastically: “I speak every day with Chelsea.

“Villas-Boas seems like a great coach. The time (managers get) depends on the results, not on our abilities. I’m not capable of judging the reasons for his dismissal.”

While Guardiola shrugged off speculation, Germany coach Joachim Low refused to comment on reports linking him with the vacancy.

The 52-year-old was reported to have met with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in a Geneva hotel to discuss the position, but the west London club denied any such meeting took place.

Low is in the Swiss city fulfilling a commercial obligation with German Football Federation sponsors Mercedes-Benz, but declined to discuss the issue.

“I have a contract as national team coach until 2014,” he told German tabloid Bild. “The European Championships start in three months and everyone knows my goal. I see no reason for me to comment on media speculation.”

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp and his Swansea counterpart Brendan Rodgers were both far more forthcoming about replacing Villas-Boas, confirming they would not be interested in taking the Chelsea hotseat.

One man that does want the job, though, is former Blues manager Glenn Hoddle.

The 54-year-old spent three years at the Stamford Bridge helm during the mid-1990s, before leaving to take the England national team post.

While he concedes it is likely to be given to another foreign boss, if the west Londoners do plump for a British boss Hoddle would love to be considered for the post.

“I think they will probably keep with the policy of staying foreign, I really do,” he said.

“I was the last English manager to be there and that was a long, long time ago - over 15 years ago. That is staggering and I think they will probably go foreign, but it is strange because I loved working for the club.

“It was different then to what it is now and I only left because England came calling. If they were prepared to look for an English manager, I would love to go back there. I really must say that.

“I did a good job when I was there and a lot of Chelsea fans actually say when I meet them ’thanks for what you did because we started something there’.

“Chelsea hadn’t done much for 27 years and they could start to see the progression that was coming very quickly. It has obviously been taken on since Ken Bates was chairman and [former vice-chairman] Matthew Harding died.

“It has been taken on with new owners and the rest is history, but I think they will go foreign.”

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has been linked with a prompt return to management in Serie A.

Inter Milan has often been mooted as a potential destination and Roma has been mentioned following his departure from Stamford Bridge.

However, Villas-Boas’ agent Carlos Goncalves says he is not thinking of any managerial offers at the moment.

“At the moment I’m in London with Andre and we have not had contact with Rome,” he told Rete Sport.

“Andre is still sleeping off what happened with Chelsea and definitely does not want to think about anything else. I do not not know where the news is from, even though we have the utmost respect for the Roma.”

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