So here we are again.
Just 10 months on from the last manager speculation piece, it's time to examine the runners and riders in the Stamford Bridge Hotseat Stakes – as Chelsea look to fill the small and slightly Cuban-heeled boots of Andre Villas-Boas.
Let's start with fans' and bookies' favourite Jose Mourinho. The once and, who knows, maybe future king would be welcomed back as a returning hero by supporters and players alike (not to mention the press: for whom Chelsea would need to build a bigger lounge).
The Special One undoubtedly has unfinished business at Stamford Bridge: it being the only top job he has walked away from without a Champions League medal.
But his return would take a pride-swallowing of epic proportions from Roman Abramovich - not something the man is known for doing. Plus, to be frank, why would Jose want the gig? Manchester City would be his ideal berth: unlimited budget, huge salary, and the chance to again create his own mythology. He'd surely love to be asked by Chelsea, just so he could say no (with the usual accompanying sneer and tilt of the head).
At the other end of the fans popularity scale lies Rafa Benitez. His name came following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti last May, and it would be difficult to over-state just how negative Chelsea fans were towards his association with the club.
That negativity towards the Spaniard has in no way dimmed in the intervening 10 months. Aside from his associations with Liverpool Football Club, Benitez is seen by many as a step back to a coach who never made a convincing assault on the Premier League, and would be likely to favour the old order that Chelsea seem keen to rid themselves of. But, as a Champions League winner, he will be undoubtedly attractive to Abramovich. If appointed, the club should expect a rocky ride.
A perceived loyalty to John Terry has seen Fabio Capello's name shorten in odds. Though it should e noted that the Italian's departure from the England job had more to do with his dislike for interference and his bottling the Euro Championships than any real loyalty to his captain – both of which would make life difficult for him at Chelsea.
Again has a Champions League to his name, so probably on the shortlist. Though would appointing him really be a step in the direction of the sexy football the owner wants to see?
Chelsea would love to get Pep Guardiola down to SW6, though their only chance of doing that might involve bundling him onto a District Line train when he turns up to watch the Olympics this summer.
Available at end of season – tick; sexy football – tick; Champions League winner – double tick. But keen to take on the basket case that is Chelsea Football Cub at the moment? Hmm. Warning: in the unlikely event of him turning up, he will start talking about 'projects' just like Villas-Boas did. Though the players might actually take notice this time.
Luciano Spalletti may sound like a dish Roberto Di Matteo used to serve-up in his restaurant, but the Italian is attracting attention as boss of Zenit St Petersburg. His knowledge of the Russian language might help, though he has no real experience on the European stage and is only 13 months into a three and a half year contract – so would be costly.
Then there is the trio of former Blues that seem to get linked with the job every few months: Bendan Rodgers, Gus Poyet, Gianfranco Zola. All have potential, but you have to wonder if Abramovich has had his fill for the time being of inexperienced coaches who just happen to know their way around Cobham.
The 1997 FA Cup Final dream team of Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton may have the caretaker's mop at present, but with the greatest of respect to both guys: this is Chelsea, not MK Dons. Possibly a better punt may be Didier Deschamps: though his personal trophy cabinet is not exactly over-burdened with success (one French league title).
And finally there is the most radical option: Roman Abramovich. Having recently camped out for a week at the Chelsea training ground, he probably picked up a few interesting methods from Villas-Boas (he may choose not to employ these), and even has the coat for the job.
Possibly not as far-fetched as it sounds, given one bookie is offering 100-1 on John Terry for the job – which amounts to the same thing. The only question is who will handle the sacking when he fails?