Chelsea have confirmed the return of Guus Hiddink to Stamford Bridge, with the vastly experienced Dutchman set to reprise the role as interim first-team manager for the second time after Jose Mourinho left the club my mutual consent on 17 December. His contract will last until the end of the season, when he is expected to be replaced by a longer-term candidate.
In an official statement released by the club to announce their latest appointment, he said: "'I am excited to return to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world but is not where it should be at the moment. However, I am sure we can all turn this season around.
"I am looking forward to working with the players and staff at this great club and especially renewing my wonderful relationship with the Chelsea fans."
Hiddink's previous temporary stint at Chelsea came six years ago, when he was chosen by owner Roman Abramovich to lead the team for the final four months of the 2008/09 campaign in conjunction with his role as head coach of the Russian national team.
He proved a popular figure with supporters during that period, stabilising the club following a poor run of form under predecessor Luiz Felipe Scolari and suffering just one solitary defeat in the Premier League. He also led the Blues to an FA Cup final victory over Everton and into the semi-finals of the Champions League, before a controversial loss to Barcelona.
Despite clamours for him to stay in the post, the 69-year-old was subsequently succeeded by Carlo Ancelotti and later left his role with Russia after failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. A short spell in charge of Turkey ended with his resignation after a Euro 2012 qualifying play-off defeat to Croatia and his last permanent position in club management came with an unsuccessful 17-month stretch at Russian Premier League outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
Hiddink, who won six Eredivisie titles during two separate spells with PSV Eindhoven and can count Valencia, Real Madrid, South Korea and Australia among his extensive list of former employers, was appointed as head coach of his native Netherlands for the second occasion in March 2014.
Despite his extensive experience in international management, he was unable to halt an alarming run of five defeats from 10 matches and left the post in July after just 10 months. He was quickly replaced by assistant Danny Blind, but Oranje were unable to secure a place at Euro 2016.
Chelsea's current malaise is likely to provide Hiddink with a stern test of his managerial abilities. Just seven months after winning their fifth top-flight title – courtesy of a comfortable eight-point buffer over nearest rivals Manchester City – the club currently find themselves 16th and just one point above the relegation zone. Mourinho's exit came three days after his side were beaten 2-1 by league leaders Leicester City at the King Power Stadium and he gave an inflammatory post-match interview in which he claimed to have felt "betrayed" by his players.
Hiddink will not be in the dugout for today's Premier League clash with lowly Sunderland, instead watching from the stands as Steve Holland and Eddie Newton lead the team.