Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola REUTERS

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi says the club will try to sign Pep Guardiola as their new manager but fears that Premier League champions Manchester City are leading the race for the former Barcelona boss ahead of Chelsea.

Massimo Allegri has endured a difficult start to life at the San Siro, with Milan currently eighth in Serie A following a start to the season which saw the club languishing in the bottom half.

Victory over lead-leaders Juventus has won Allegri, who saw a host of players leave in the summer as the club looked to balance the books; a stay of execution, but that hasn't put Berlusconi off targeting Guardiola, despite reported interest from Chelsea and City.

Berlusconi said: "Who would not want someone like Guardiola?

"There are some English clubs after Guardiola, especially [Manchester] City who have directors that we know very well. We will try to sign him, but it's going to be difficult."

City have brought in Ferran Soriano as the club's new chief-executive and Txiki Begiristain as director of football, both formerly of Barcelona during Guardiola's time at the Nou Camp and the pair are expected to work as significant bargaining chips in any negotiations.

The revelations may spark Chelsea into action, with rumours abound that the club will attempt to bring in the two-time European Cup winner as the club's permanent boss following Rafa Benitez's interim spell in charge.

The animosity shown towards the ex-Liverpool boss during the goalless draw with City on Sunday suggests the Stamford Bridge faithful would be receptive to an alteration in the summer following the expiration of Benitez's temporary contract.

Chelsea are now five games without a win in the Premier League and are on the brink of elimination from the Champions League after the mid-week loss to Juventus; Roberto Di Matteo's final game in charge.

City however have already exited the Champions League at the group phase for a second consecutive year, following the draw with Real Madrid which left them with three points from five matches.

While the club did claim their first league title for 44 years last season, City's prowess in Europe has failed to match the substantial investment in the playing squad, and with Guardiola remaining available, the Etihad Stadium's Abu Dhabi owners might be tempted to make another big-name acquisition.