Enzo Fernandez issue, Christopher Nkunku solution - Enzo Maresca's Chelsea in-tray revealed

Enzo Maresca
-Credit: (Image: Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

Enzo Maresca is the new head coach of Chelsea after the club confirmed the appointment on Monday afternoon.

The 44-year-old has put pen-to-paper on a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge with the option of a further 12 months later down the line. Maresca will begin his job officially at the start of next month after replacing Mauricio Pochettino.

Sources have told that Maresca wishes the season could begin immediately with the Italian really excited to work with his new squad of players. Maresca has even been doing some unofficial work during his holiday in Marbella, including watching games from last season.

It is set to be a challenging time ahead for Maresca as the club prepare to back him to spearhead their ambitious long-term project, but one the newly-appointed head coach is ready to meet head-on. With that being said, takes a look at what is on Maresca's to-do list in his debut season in SW6...

Win the players over

After hearing news of Pochettino's sudden departure last month, understands several first-team players were left shocked at the announcement. Pochettino was a popular figure amongst the players and Maresca needs to leave a similar impression on the group.

It is understood that there is 'huge optimism' among players that Maresca can lead them to success next season. So in that regard, he already has a head-start but when he begins his role officially on July 1, that is where the real work starts.

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Maresca will inherit a squad full of young and fairly inexperienced players. What he has that Pochettino didn't, though, is a group of players that at least have some experience, albeit not too much, of playing with each other.

Keeping key players fit

Finding the root cause of Chelsea's injury problems last season was something that Pochettino could not do. The Argentine was asked constantly throughout the season just why the club were suffering with so many injuries but an explanation was difficult to come by.

Many questioned his training methods but the truth is, there were similar problems under previous leadership. Either way, for Maresca, he will be keen to avoid such a crisis during his first season with the club.

The Italian has to try and find a way to protect the likes of Reece James, Romeo Lavia, Christopher Nkunku and Wesley Fofana, who all had a nightmare of a 2023/24 campaign because of injury problems. Trying to get the aforementioned quartet a decent pre-season is absolutely imperative.

Fernandez and Caicedo dilemma

Considering they cost a combined total of well over £200million, there is no question the club want Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo to play together in the centre of midfield. However, at times last season, the partnership did not work.

As Fernandez missed the last few games of the season because of groin surgery, that was when Caicedo was at his very best. And that inevitably raised a few questions.

Fernandez, though, is someone with potentially world-class talent and is a unique player within the squad. There is no doubting his importance and value to the Chelsea squad but Maresca needs to find a way to play the two South American midfielders together effectively next season.