CHELSEA will target Zinedine Zidane after he stunned Real Madrid by walking out five days on from a third Champions League triumph.
The Blues are ready to ask the France legend, 45, if he wants an immediate return to management in the Premier League following his shock decision to quit.
Chelsea know Zidane will be highly in demand and are ready to make at least an informal approach.
But if Zidane opts for time out of the spotlight, his fellow 1998 World Cup-winner Laurent Blanc will be the new front-runner.
Chelsea got cold feet over Maurizio Sarri due to his controversial past.
Sarri, who left Napoli last week, seemed to be the favourite to replace Antonio Conte— whose spell at Stamford Bridge appears to be coming to an end after two years.
But the Blues hierarchy have become aware of Sarri’s homophobic row with new Italy boss Roberto Mancini.
Sarri clashed with then-Inter boss Mancini during a Coppa Italia tie last season.
Mancini said afterwards: “The confrontation on the touchline? You have to ask Sarri about that.
“He is a racist. People like him do not belong in football.
“I stood up to ask about the five minutes being added on and Sarri shouted ‘p***’ and ‘f*****’ at me.
“I would be proud to be that, if he is what is considered a man.”
Chelsea have made zero tolerance of racism, sexism and homophobia a major club commitment in recent seasons.
That has seen interest in 60-year-old Sarri cool and given Blanc the chance to rise up the list.
The 52-year-old, who spent two years at Manchester United under Sir Alex Fergusonbetween 2001 and 2003, has proved his mettle in his homeland.
Blanc guided Bordeaux to a shock Ligue 1 triumph in 2009 before taking over his national side and then won three more French titles at Paris Saint-Germain.