Chelsea have formally announced the appointment of “world-class coach” Mauricio Pochettino and are planning to further strengthen their recruitment department ahead of a busy summer of transfer activity.
Talks are ongoing with Andy Cousins to join their scouting team and work alongside Joe Shields, who was poached from Southampton and holds the title of co-director of recruitment and talent.
It was announced in March that Cousins was leaving Stoke City, where he was head of football operations at the Championship club. Cousins has previously worked for Northern Ireland, as a lead analyst, and was with Manchester City.
A deal has not yet been agreed with Chelsea, who are continuing to restructure the way they operate having already brought in technical director Christopher Vivell and co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, with the latter two assuming overall responsibility for driving the club’s football operations.
Key to that, of course, is Pochettino’s arrival, with the 51-year-old having signed a two-year deal with an option for the club to extend his contract for a further 12 months.
The former Tottenham Hotspur head coach formally takes over on July 1 and will be joined by his trusted staff of Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez and Pochettino’s son Sebastiano, who all worked with him at Paris St-Germain and, in the case of the first three, at Tottenham.
Hiring that quintet was a non-negotiable for Pochettino with Chelsea releasing a statement confirming the deal the day after the end of a dismal Premier League campaign.
In the announcement Chelsea owners Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali, José E Feliciano, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss said: “The sporting team conducted a diligent and thoughtful process that the board is proud of. We are delighted that Mauricio will be joining Chelsea. Mauricio is a world-class coach with an outstanding track record. We are all looking forward to having him on board.”
Chelsea winger Raheem Sterling hailed Pochettino’s appointment, saying: “He is going to have the personality that everyone is going to respect. That’s what we need. Someone in charge.”
With 12 first-team signings, across the first two transfer windows, at a cost of more than £500 million, a priority for Chelsea is now thinning out their bloated squad, but also making it gel under Pochettino.
The owners hailed the Argentine’s “high-energy and eye-catching style” and, crucially, how he has “built a reputation for helping young players realise their full potential”.
It is understood that Chelsea will prioritise departures before focusing on signings this summer, although they are being strongly linked with Uruguay international holding midfielder Manuel Ugarte, who currently plays in Portugal for Sporting.
New chief executive arrives
Chelsea have also announced the appointment of Chris Jurasek as their new chief executive while president of business Tom Glick is set to leave after less than a year in his role.
Jurasek will oversee all business areas at Chelsea and report to the board alongside co-sporting directors Stewart and Winstanley.
“I’m delighted to be joining Chelsea, a club which is loved and followed all over the world,” Jurasek said. “I’m enormously proud to be leading it into the next chapter in its rich history.
“We have huge opportunities to grow on and off the pitch and to engage our exceptional fans both in London and wherever they are supporting us from.”
Co-controlling owners Eghbali and Feliciano said: “Chris’s skill and expertise will help us to drive the club forward in all areas, particularly in supporting our long-term plans for Chelsea.
“Our focus will continue to be on ensuring the club is competitive and sustainable both from a sporting and business perspective, with a talented and ambitious leadership team.”
Former Manchester City executive Glick will be exiting the club, having only been appointed last July – although no departure date was announced by the club, who said the former president of NFL franchise the Carolina Panthers wanted “to pursue other opportunities”.
Glick will work closely with Jurasek in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition before leaving.