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Shock new favourite for Chelsea job

Laurent Blanc has overtaken Maurizio Sarri as the frontrunner to become Chelsea’s new boss.

According to a report in the Sun, Italian coach Sarri had looked nailed on to take over the Stamford Bridge hotseat from his countryman Antonio Conte. But a combination of having to pay Napoli £7 million to release him from his contract and concerns over homophobic remarks he made to former Manchester City boss Robert Mancini last season, has meant that the Blues board have cooled their interest in the 59-year-old.

Blanc was renowned as one of the world’s best centre-backs during his illustrious playing career that saw him win the World Cup and European Championship with France, as well as representing elite clubs like Barcelona, Inter Milan and Manchester United at club level.

After impressing hugely during his first managerial post with Bordeaux he was then appointed as coach of the France national team and guided Les Blues to a quarter-final place in Euro 2012, where they were eliminated by eventual Champions Spain.

The 52-year-old then took over at PSG and although he delivered domestic domination in France he was unable to make a mark in the Champions League, and left the club in 2016 to be replaced by now Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

Blanc’s ability to take over from the Conte – who is widely expected to depart Stamford Bridge in the coming days – straight away is seen as a massive advantage by the Stamford Bridge hierarchy, although they are also expected to sound out the availability of his former international team-mate Zinedine Zidane, who quit his role as Real Madrid boss yesterday.

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