Avram Grant is being linked with a shock return to Chelsea.
The Daily Mail says Roman Abramovich views Pep Guardiola as the long-term successor to Roberto Di Matteo, who lifted the Champions League in May.
But if the former Barcelona boss insists on spending the rest of the season out of the game, the billionaire owner will ask Rafa Benitez to take charge on a lucrative contract until the end of the season.
If he fails to convince the Spaniard, Abramovich could even turn to former manager Grant to hold the fort again.
Benitez has been out of work since losing his job at Inter Milan in 2010 but remains one of Europe’s most highly-rated coaches.