Chelsea have reportedly placed impressive Watford manager Javi Gracia on the shortlist to replace Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.
Duncan Castles of The Daily Record claims that Chelsea officials have been impressed with Gracia at Watford this season.
Watford appointed Spaniard Gracia, 48, as the club’s new head coach just hours after sacking Marco Silva in January 2018, signing an 18-month contract at Vicarage Road.
But such has been his impact that Gracia signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League club in November as the Pozzo family – the owners of the Hornets – quickly recognised his growing stature in the game.
The Daily Record claims Watford’s owners made sure Gracia was tied to a long deal to make sure they can secure a large compensation payment should he be poached by a bigger club.
Gracia has since guided Watford to the FA Cup final and to within just a point of seventh place and on the coat-tails of some clubs with considerably higher budgets.
That has caught the attention of the Blues, whose current boss Maurizio Sarri may well be axed in the summer, with Chelsea impressed by his “calm and controversy-free demeanour”.
Earlier this month Sarri responded to fans who chanted for his resignation after their lacklustre 2-1 victory over Cardiff City.
Some Blues fans sang “We want Sarri out” and “you don’t know what you’re doing” at the Italian after the Bluebirds took the lead through Victor Camarasa one minute into the second half.
The visitors ended up snatching all three points, however, with late goals from Cesar Azpilicueta and Ruben Loftus-Cheek sealing the win for the West London club.
Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, Sarri stated that he is “getting used” to hearing such chants from his club’s supporters.
“I don’t want to answer, but I can understand the reaction of the fans,” the manager said. “But it was probably best for them to wait until the end of the match.
“I am getting used to this and for me, it’s not a big problem. I just have to work to change their opinion. If I win matches, then the fans will be happy.”
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