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Laurent Blanc Reportedly Meets with Chelsea Amid Manager Search

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 29, 2018

Paris Saint-Germain's and Bordeaux's former head coach Laurent Blanc looks on from the stands as he attends the French L1 football match between Bordeaux (FCGB) and Rennes (SRFC) on March 17, 2018, at the Matmut Atlantique Stadium in Bordeaux, southwestern France. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS TUCAT        (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
NICOLAS TUCAT/Getty Images

Chelsea have reportedly met with former Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc amid rumours it's unlikely the Blues will make a move for sacked Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri. 

It looks probable that incumbent Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will depart this summer, and France Football reported the club's director, Marina Granovskaia, has had contact with Blanc (h/t Football Italia).

The former France international hasn't held a managerial position since the summer of 2016 when he left PSG, where he won three successive Ligue 1 titles before departing the Parc des Princes by mutual consent.

Like other PSG managers of recent years, Blanc's record in Europe was largely to blame for his exit, having been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage in each of his three seasons in charge.

However, the 52-year-old remains the most successful manager in PSG's history despite only being at the Parc des Princes for three years, and he could join another alumnus of the club if he came to Chelsea, per OptaJoe:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

7 - Unai Emery won seven of the eight domestic competitions he competed in with Paris Saint-Germain (Trophée des Champions x2, Coupe de la Ligue x2, Ligue 1, Coupe de France x2); only Laurent Blanc (11) won more trophies at the club. Winner. https://t.co/kqiJaGOeKA

The former Manchester United and Barcelona defender has knowledge of England from his time as a player at Old Trafford, although there may be questions over his credentials after two years out of senior management.

Sky Sports Statto remarked upon Blanc as one of the continent's best managers in recent years irrespective of that absence and a marker perhaps of the quality he could offer as a Conte replacement:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Most major trophies in Europe's top 5 leagues since 2013-14: 8 - @UnaiEmery_ 8 - Massimiliano Allegri 8 - Laurent Blanc 8 - Pep Guardiola 7 - Luis Enrique https://t.co/ex28qKQu7t

It's said Chelsea are unwilling to pay the €8 million (£7 million) release clause it would take to terminate the contract of Sarri, who is still tied to Napoli despite the fact Carlo Ancelotti has been confirmed as his successor.

That's after Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol gave the impression the west Londoners were following up their interest in the former Napoli coach:

Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh

Sky Italy: Maurizio Sarri has general agreement to become Chelsea manager if/when Antonio Conte leaves. €8m release clause in Napoli contract expires on Thursday

As well as his glitzier position at PSG, Blanc also won 94 of his 159 games in charge of Bordeaux, per Transfermarkt—a win ratio of around 59 percent—before a forgettable two years in charge of France.

He is untested outside his home nation at club level and could be a risky prospect, but the difficulty in securing Sarri's services appears to have pushed Chelsea to explore alternative options.

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