LUIS ENRIQUE was prepared to join Chelsea IMMEDIATELY and left disappointed when Frank Lampard took interim charge, reports say.
Blues boss Todd Boehly and his board including co-owner Behdad Eghbali sacked Graham Potter at the start of April.
Former Barcelona and Spain manager Enrique emerged as an early frontrunner to take charge.
He held a video call with Chelsea chiefs just days after Potter's sacking and then flew into London for face-to-face talks.
According to Spanish outlet AS, it left Enrique ready to go and motivated by the club's Champions League challenge against Real Madrid.
But Chelsea opted to hire Blues legend and ex-manager Lampard in a caretaker role as they looked to explore their options further.
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It is claimed a number of candidates were unwilling to take over the crisis club mid-season with form and morale low.
But that was not the case for Enrique, who has been out of work since leaving Spain following their last 16 World Cup elimination.
Chelsea are still in the process of carefully choosing Potter's successor, with German Julian Nagelsmann also in the mix.
Nagelsmann was sacked by Bayern Munich in March due to off-field issues and replaced by Thomas Tuchel, who Boehly fired last September.
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The young coach – who won the Bundesliga last season – is also expected to have a personal interview with Chelsea.
It comes after Lampard suffered his third consecutive loss since re-joining the club he leads as all-time scorer.
Chelsea were beaten 2-0 by Brighton, which follows from defeat to Wolves and Real Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final.
The Blues welcome the LaLiga champions to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday trailing by two goals.
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