Rafa Benitez has lost any chance of keeping the Chelsea job following the humiliating home defeat by Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi final.
The interim boss will, however, not be sacked by Roman Abramovich before his deal expires at the end of the season.
But the Spaniard now accepts he has no chance of landing the job permanently, as the club step up their bid to lure Pep Guardiola.
Benitez was subjected to a tirade of abuse from angry Blues fans as his team crumbled in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.
But it was the hostile reception given to chairman Bruce Buck before Wednesday’s match which has convinced the Chelsea hierarchy that there can be no question of handing the job full-time to Benitez.
Reports of the furious fan reaction have reached owner Abramovich at his home on the Caribbean island of St Barts, where he has been hosting his traditional New Year’s party.
And they have convinced the billionaire Russian that the only solution is to appoint Guardiola. To that end, Abramovich is ready to make the ex-Barcelona coach the highest paid manager ever on a £300,000-a-week deal.
Yet there is a growing fear within Stamford Bridge Guardiola, 41, could still snub Chelsea due to the constant instability surrounding the club.
Guardiola confirmed this week he will return to football next season after a year out to recharge his batteries.
But he can take his pick from the world’s top clubs and even Chelsea’s £15million-a-year offer may not convince him to move to London.