REMI Garde is set for further talks with Newcastle United after meeting club officials over the head coach post.
Garde is the front-runner to succeed Alan Pardew at St James’s Park.
The 48-year-old held informal discussions with managing director Lee Charnley in London over the weekend.
Newcastle, also linked with Tim Sherwood, have also sounded out a number of other candidates since Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr drew up a shortlist for the job.
Garde – interested in re-starting his coaching career in England after a six-month sabbatical from the game – has NOT yet been offered the job.
A number of other potential candidates, including St Etienne’s Christophe Galtier, Derby County’s Steve McClaren and Ajax’s Frank de Boer, have publicly ruled out leaving their clubs midway through the campaign.
It is unclear whether Garde, having had a break from the game, is ready to start work straight away.
Caretaker manager John Carver, meanwhile, is likely to still be at the helm for Saturday’s home game against Southampton.
Carver has talked of having a peculiarly public job interview.
He didn’t expect to be asked for a formal, suited interview when asked about the vacant head coach post late last week.
Instead, he was to again take a seat in the dugout in his club tracksuit on Saturday.
And for 40 or so minutes at Stamford Bridge, the players were letting their feet do the talking for the club’s caretaker boss.
They were making quite an impression. Remy Cabella, finally, had found his stride. The power of Moussa Sissoko and the pace of Ayoze Perez were also troubling the Premier League leaders.
Jose Mourinho, not surprisingly, didn’t look happy.
Carver was happier, but his team didn’t take its chances – Sissoko came closest with a fierce shot that struck the outside of Petr Cech’s post – and Newcastle’s afternoon started to unravel at the end of the first half when captain Fabricio Coloccini put the ball out for a corner.
Rather than opt for the back row, he rolled it towards the front row, and Chelsea quickly got the ball rolling.
So quickly, in fact, that Newcastle weren’t ready for it, and by the time they switched on, Branislav Ivanovic had pulled the ball back for Oscar, who put it into the net before fit-again Tim Krul and Daryl Janmaat could intervene.
Diego Costa made sure of the points just before the hour-mark, and that was that.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta (Luis 37), Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Oscar (Ramires 79), Hazard, Costa (Remy 84). Subs Not Used: Drogba, Mikel, Courtois, Cahill. Booked: Matic, Oscar. Goals: Oscar 43, Costa 59.
Newcastle: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Anita, Colback, Cabella, Sissoko (Riviere 84), Gouffran (Ameobi 63), Perez. Subs Not Used: Santon, Haidara, Vuckic, Satka, Woodman. Booked: Williamson, Colback, Dummett.
Att: 41,612 Ref: Roger East (Wiltshire).