Paul Merson believes Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich could replace Maurizio Sarri with Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe next season.
Sarri has endured a mixed first season at Stamford Bridge and the Blues, currently fifth, face an uphill battle to finish in the top four of the Premier League.
Chelsea could still qualify for next year’s Champions League by winning the Europa League, however, and progressed to the semi-finals last week with two victories over Slavia Prague.
Sarri was heavily linked with a departure from Chelsea earlier in the year and Arsenal legend Merson reckons he could still be sacked by Abramovich.
He told Sky Sports: ‘If Roman Abramovich is still there next year and he hasn’t sold the club, Eddie Howe could be the next manager of Chelsea.’
Asked whether Howe would be a good appointment by the west London club, Merson added: ‘I think great. He plays an expansive game of football. Chelsea fans want to see action and I know the owner doesn’t go as much now but he also wants to see action.
‘Sarri was brought in to play the Napoli way. Score lots of goals and play gung-ho football. It was never going to happen but Howe plays that way. He opens the game up a lot better than Chelsea do.’
Howe’s Bournemouth are currently 12th in the Premier League and suffered a 1-0 defeat to already-relegated Fulham on Saturday.
But Merson said: ‘I have been down to Bournemouth and I like the way he works and how he gets his message across. He can manage at the top level.
‘I think days like last week keep him at Bournemouth for a little big longer. That is the way he wants to play.’ Chelsea welcome Burnley to Stamford Bridge on Monday evening.