Luciano Spalletti has emerged as a top candidate to succeed Rafa Benitez at Chelsea. The Zenit St Petersburg coach has never hidden his ambition to work in the Premier League and is admired by Blues owner Roman Abramovich for the way he's dominated Russian football since his arrival.

Sources close to Zenit say directors are aware of Abramovich's interest and won't hold Spalletti to his contract should he field an offer.

Only last month, Spalletti declared: "I have a good relationship with the President and have only just renewed my contract. However, in the future I would like to coach in England."