Chelsea can finally unlock £90m star with new manager appointment after Mauricio Pochettino promise

Roberto de Zerbi and Mykhailo Mudryk
-Credit: (Image: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Chelsea's search for their new permanent manager continues following the surprise departure of Mauricio Pochettino earlier this week. The ex-Blues boss was in the role for just 11 months but walked away from the job through mutual consent after a meeting with the co-owners and sporting directors on Tuesday morning.

Despite having finished sixth in the Premier League, and therefore guaranteeing European football at Stamford Bridge next season, Pochettino's exit likely stemmed from a limited role in the club's future transfer decisions but saw an outpour of gratitude from his players, who posted across social media to thank him for the season.

Nicolas Jackson's pair of 'facepalm' emojis summarised his thoughts on the decision to let the Argentinian walk away, while Cole Palmer also thanked Pochettino for helping him have his breakout season in England's top flight. Another star that has shown glimpses of promise under the 52-year-old was Mykhailo Mudryk, who posted a photo of him and Pochettino embracing on his Instagram with the caption: "Thank you for everything."

The 23-year-old has struggled since arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk in January last year on an eight-and-a-half year contract, scoring just seven goals in his 41 appearances so far - although all seven of those goals did come under Pochettino this season.

Now the star could be reunited with his former Shakhtar boss Roberto De Zerbi after the Italian was linked with the vacancy at Stamford Bridge this week. Reports seem to suggest he'll be one of four now on the club's candidate shortlist alongside Kieran McKenna, Enzo Maresca and Thomas Frank.

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In the past, Mudryk has spoken about a conversation he had with De Zerbi after the 44-year-old arrived at Shakhtar in 2021. He said: "To be honest, I almost didn't believe my ears when he called. It was exciting and interesting, I realised that this was a new challenge.

"It's very nice that Mister decided to call me on his first day in Ukraine. I still remember how I listened to him and delved into what he was saying as never before, and that's what I still keep doing. I am glad that we talk and get along. He immediately told me that he was aware of the way I play, and he would make me unlock my potential.

"He also said that he trusted me completely. Mister's words mean a lot to me as this is almost the main thing that I wanted to hear."

The relationship seems to go both ways, with De Zerbi also not afraid to make his admiration for Mudryk clear, having even touted him to win the Ballon D'Or one day.

"Me and my staff have a special relationship [with Mudryk]," De Zerbi said of the Chelsea ace. "He is like a son to us. I hope he stays on the bench and doesn’t play [when Brighton play Chelsea] but I love him. We hope the best for him... from the next game.

"For any young player it is more difficult to adapt to another country and another style of football. Chelsea have many big players and I think it is a normal situation for him, he has to adapt and to understand his life has changed but I think he is good, smart guy. He can become a top, top player.

"He can win the Ballon D'Or no in the future? I know the value of Mudryk. He definitely has the potential to win the Ballon D'Or."