JOSE MOURINHO is ready for a THIRD stint in charge of Chelsea.
The Blues are accelerating the hunt for a successor to Maurizio Sarri, who is expected to join Juventus in the coming days.
4 Jose Mourinho is ready to take over at Chelsea for a third timeCredit: PA:Press Association
Chelsea will demand a top-four finish from their new boss – even with the loss of star man Eden Hazard.
Fans' choice Frank Lampard, currently in charge at Derby, remains the hot favourite to take over.
But the Stamford Bridge hierarchy are also considering managers with top-flight experience.
Two-time ex-Chelsea boss Mourinho, 56, who has also been linked with a shock move to Newcastle if they are taken over, is a rank outsider.
The former Manchester United boss was yesterday pictured in London for talks with a top commercial agent.
Former Juve coach Max Allegri, Ajax's Erik ten Hag, Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves and Watford's Javi Gracia are also in the frame.
ONE MOUR TIME
Mourinho won three Premier League titles, three League Cups and the FA Cup during two spells and five years at Chelsea.
The Portuguese was axed for a second time in 2015 after a disastrous start to his title defence.
An ugly row with then-club doctor Eva Carneiro over her decision to treat Hazard during a 2-2 draw with Swansea created a toxic atmosphere before he was given the chop.
And despite taking up the role at rivals United the following year, SunSport understands he would seriously consider making a third return to Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho in March said he hoped to be back in club management this month.
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He told BeIN SPORTS: "What I have in mind is that I would like to be back in the summer, in June, for a new club, for a new pre-season.
"I know exactly what I don't want.
"That's the reason why I had to say already to three or four different offers. I had to say no.
"And I know what I want, in terms of not a specific club but the nature of the job, the dimension of the job, I know what I want."
The thought of Mourinho returning to the Stamford Bridge dugout for the third time was too much for some Chelsea fans.
Angry supporters expressed their opposition to the Special One, with one fan calling it "the dumbest managerial suggestion anyone has come up with in the last few days."
Another one said the former darling of SW6 is "past it."