Chelsea have identified former caretaker manager and assistant manager Steve Holland to replace Maurizio Sarri as head coach, should they decide to pull the trigger, according to a Telegraph Sport exclusive.

Holland, now assistant to Gareth Southgate with England, left Chelsea in 2016 to link up with the international side, but has now seen his name linked with a return to Stamford Bridge with pressure mounting on Sarri.

With the Blues set to face Manchester City in the EFL Cup final on Sunday, it may well prove to be the last chance saloon for Sarri, who has struggled to motivate his side in recent weeks.

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Chelsea would aim to appoint Holland on a deal until the end of the season, which would also allow him to continue his England duties. The Blues would need to convince both Holland and the FA to agree to the deal for it to go ahead.

Speculation had been sparked after Holland was spotted in attendance at Chelsea’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester United earlier this week, as well as their Europa League victory over Malmo.

Chelsea insist they have not held talks with any potential successors to Sarri, and could still appoint current assistant manager Gianfranco Zola if the club decide on an internal candidate.