Diego Simeone has become Chelsea's chief managerial target to replace Antonio Conte if the Italian mutually departs the reigning Premier League champions.
The Times has claimed that the Atletico Madrid boss has been installed as the Blues' first choice option to replace Conte if he opts to leave and return to his homeland.
Chelsea reportedly have no ambitions to sack Conte regardless of where they finish this season, but a number of issues have arisen in recent months that could see the club and Conte mutually agree to end their relationship.
The 47-year-old has hinted at his unhappiness of Chelsea's transfer policy last summer that saw them miss out on key targets such as Romelu Lukaku and Alex Sandro.
And rumours of him leaving Stamford Bridge have only increased further after Conte suggested that he would head back to Italy once his time with the west Londoners comes to an end.
Conte penned an improved deal with Chelsea last summer after a superb first campaign at the helm, but his deal was not extended any further and he now only has 18 months left on his current terms.
(You may also be interested in Antonio Conte Seems to Takes Dig at Chelsea Bosses: 'I've Rarely Been Given the Players I Asked For')
That hint has supposedly sparked Chelsea's board into life as they lay down contingency plans in case the ex-Juventus and Italy gaffer departs, and Simeone is seen as the ideal choice to replace Conte in the dugout.
Simeone was chased by Chelsea before Conte's appointment in June 2016 but he decided to extend his stay in La Liga.
The Argentine may not be Chelsea's best option to pursue, however, with both the 47-year-old and Atleti club president Enrique Cerezo stating that Simeone would remain in charge for at least one more season at Wanda Metropolitano.
Couple that with Simeone's wish to manage, ironically, in Italy with Inter Milan once he leaves Spain's capital, and Chelsea may not stand too much of a chance of luring him to London.
Other possible candidates to replace Conte include his replacement at Juventus - Max Allegri - and Napoli's Maurizio Sarri.