Winning the Premier League title last year seems like a distant memory for Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
It was a dream start when he arrived at Stamford Bridge in July 2016 as he led the Blues to a league title by the end of the season.
They did so in a dominant fashion, winning 30 league games as they closed out their domestic campaign with a seven-point lead to stop Tottenham Hotspur from catching up.
Unfortunately, that form has not translated to this season, and with only a handful of matches remaining in their schedule, the Blues are only fifth in the table and are eight points behind Tottenham Hotspur for the final spot in the UEFA Champions League in the coming season.
With team owner Roman Abramovich known for his lack of patience with Chelsea failing to win any major trophy in a season, many believe that Conte will be out of London by the summer.
And with so many rumours revolving around the Italian manager falling out with his players, there have been speculations on who could be the best replacement to revive Chelsea as a force in the Premier League.
Below are some of the names being linked to lead the line for the struggling Blues.
In what seems to be a very similar path, there are many talks linking current Juventus FC manager Massimiliano Allegri to a move to Stamford Bridge this summer.
The same thing can be said of Conte, who was at the helm for the Italian outfit from 2011 to 2014.
Allegri has been the manager for Juve since 2014, and has led the Biaconeri to three consecutive Serie A championships.
This year, they are atop the table again and eyeing a fourth-straight league title under Allegri.
At 50 years old, the Italian already has a wealth of experience and this may play well with Chelsea as they hope to turn things around in the coming campaign.
Having Allegri on board should help the Blues create a new dimension to their game – as his style normally means the team will have more of their possession. With other teams and managers adapting to this style, Chelsea may finally be at par with their peers while having Allegri on board.
Another option that Chelsea may look at is going for the former FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique.
At the moment, the Spanish manager is without a club and was in charge of the Catalan giants until June 2017.
He spent three years with FC Barcelona, winning a number of trophies – twice in the La Liga and one time in the UEFA Champions League.
The 47-year-old was also awarded as the World’s Best Club Coach back in the 2014-15 season, beating out the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
Regarding his managerial style, Enrique is most famous for evolving Barcelona’s “tiki-taka” method made famous by Guardiola and developed a more aggressive style of play. Having more players moving to the final third of the pitch, Enrique can certainly bring excitement to Stamford Bridge if he does decide to sign.
One of the most intriguing names in the list is Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone.
While he may not have as much trophies like the other managers in the list, Simeone is regarded as one of the best managers in the game.
Plying his trade in La Liga, Simeone has lead Atletico to one Spanish championship back in the 2013-14 season, a UEFA Europa League crown in the 2011-12 campaign and a UEFA Super Cup the following season.
He has done all this while leading the team being considered as the smaller Madrid club in Spain.
The Argentine has done well for himself as a manager, winning the World’s Best Club Coach award back in 2016, while finishing as runner up two years earlier.
Simeone is also known for getting great players while not spending too much, so having the money to buy almost any player with Chelsea is a mouth-watering thought for Blues’ fans.
As for his preferred tactics on the pitch, Simeone prefers a tight, compact shape that lessens scoring chances for opponents while also giving his players the freedom to move forward when a scoring opportunity presents itself.
Finally, Chelsea FC may still bring back a familiar face to the fold as Carlo Ancelotti is also being considered to retake the stand for the Blues.
The Italian spent two years with the Premier League club, from 2009 to 2011. He enjoyed moderate success with the club, winning the league and FA Cup titles in the 2009-10 season.
After leaving Stamford Bridge, Ancelotti led other high-profile teams such as Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid CF and Bayern Munich before taking a break from his profession.
Despite being 58 years old, many still consider Ancelotti as one of the best managers, as proof of him winning the Best Club Coach of the Year award twice in his storied career. If both the manager and team owner can see eye-to-eye again in the summer, Chelsea should welcome him back with positivity.
Ancelotti is known as a manger who can adapt to any situation and can handle various types of players with ease. His varies his tactics on the strength of his players and many believe that he is a voice of reason that resonates from up-and-comers to the superstars of the football world.
At the moment, Chelsea still have an outside chance for European football next year and are in the semi-final of the FA Cup. If Conte manages a surprise entry to Europe next year, or wins a cup title to end the season, he may still keep his job. Otherwise, we may see one of these big names revealed in London soon.