Pep Guardiola
Barcelona's coach Guardiola gestures to his player during their Spanish first division soccer match against Atletico Madrid in Madrid

After the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has made it clear he does not fool around when it comes to the performance of his club.

According to a report on ESPN, the Russian billionaire is now targeting Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as the next manager of the Blues. He was apparently unsuccessful in hiring former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

The currently unemployed Spanish manager was reportedly approached for a short-term contract earlier. The offer was turned down, with Benitez saying he wanted to sign for a minimum of two years.

The report on ESPN quoted its sources as saying Benitez (on Wednesday) spoke to club officials for five hours, ahead of the Blues' game against West Brom. It was decided that the league game at the Hawthorns would represent AVB's last chance to turn things around.

Unfortunately for the Portuguese manager, the Baggies handed Chelsea a 1-0 defeat.

Abramovich's next target is apparently Barcelona's Guardiola, who has a hugely impressive haul of trophies in the recent past.

"Roman wants the best in the world, so Guardiola clearly fits the bill, if he can get him of course. There have been one or two English managers names put forward, like Harry Redknapp and Glenn Hoddle, but Roman and his advisors like the men in vogue," ESPN quoted a source as saying.

Only time will tell whether Guardiola, whose contract with Barcelona expires this year, will continue with the Spanish champions or take up Abramovich's offer, which will of course be very generous.