Chelsea next manager: What we know so far with ‘Mauricio Pochettino announcement imminent’
Chelsea are looking for their third permanent manager inside a year, and an appointment is imminent.
Graham Potter was appointed last September on a five-year deal with the remit of crafting a long-term strategy under the Todd Boehly-Clearlake ownership, who decided to ditch Champions League-winning Thomas Tuchel after a slightly underwhelming start to the season.
Six months and just 29 league goals later, the experiment is up and it will be interesting down which route Boehly & Co. new venture regarding the new manager.
Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann, both free agents after being sacked by Spain and Bayern Munich respectively, were the initial frontrunners, before Mauricio Pochettino impressed more in interview. Frank Lampard has returned on an interim basis and finally earned his first win at the seventh time of asking.
Here is the latest from Nizaar Kinsella on Chelsea’s next manager...
Who are the candidates?
Bruno Saltor took charge of one game as interim head coach but had little interest in remaining in the role so former player and sacked manager Frank Lampard was put in charge for the rest of the season.
As mentioned above, Nagelsmann and Enrique were the frontrunners. Standard Sport understands Chelsea made contact with both and interviews took place, but it is Mauricio Pochettino, who was also of interest to the previous ownership before Thomas Tuchel’s appointment, who impressed most.
Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner was further down the shortlist. Sporting’s Ruben Amorim and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi are set to stay put, however, after publicly denying interest in a change of clubs.
Napoli’s Luciano Spalletti was never considered a likely option with his team closing in - and now winning - a historic Italian league title.
Is an appointment close?
Yes. Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali recently met in Los Angeles over the weekend to discuss the appointment of Pochettino, and the former Tottenham manager is now expected to take over at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
Eghbali was even spotted at an LA Lakers NBA match and when asked if Pochettino will be the next manager, he winked and said: “Maybe, maybe”.
Pochettino continues to negotiate without an agent and is in a strong position to leverage his terms given the turmoil at Chelsea. The Argentine is expected to ask for his four members of backroom staff to join him at Chelsea, and will want significant influence on the direction of the club.
The Athletic report that the process is now approaching a close and a final decision will be made this week, with an official announcement coming “in due course.”