Carlo Ancelotti is Chelsea's first choice to take over as manager when Antonio Conte decides to leave the club, according to reports.
The Sun says Blues chiefs have already begun succession planning and do not expect Conte to see out the remaining two years of his contract.
Ancelotti led Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010, but was sacked the following year after he ended his second season at the club without a trophy.
The former AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain boss is currently out of a job after he was sacked as Bayern Munich head coach last month.
The Sun says Ancelotti has remained in touch with Chelsea executives and bears no ill will towards Blues owner Roman Abramovich for his decision to sack him in 2011.
Conte signed an improved two-year contract at Stamford Bridge in July, but the deal did not extend the former Italy manager's commitment to the club.
He has been linked with a return to Italian football at the end of this season amid dissatisfaction at the level of support he has received from the Blues board.
The Times reported earlier this month that the 48-year-old had "seriously considered" leaving his job in the summer following disputes with Chelsea officials over transfers and the promotion of academy players.
Separate reports surfaced last week, suggesting that some Chelsea players were unhappy with Conte's physically-demanding training schedule and were concerned that the heavy workload was exacerbating the squad's injury problems.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois publicly came out in defence of Conte on 23 October, insisting that the dressing room had no problems with the manager's training methods.
"Every manager has his own routine. With Antonio we do a lot of tactical sessions and drills. We are fine with it," the Belgian was quoted as saying by ESPN.
"Last season we were champions with his way and we trained much more than this season, so I don't know why somebody would complain. It's not as if we don't like to train."
Chelsea have also been linked with an approach for Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri, who has a release clause in his contract worth €7.5m (£6.7m).