Kieran McKenna, Enzo Maresca and Thomas Frank on four-man Chelsea shortlist


Chelsea have narrowed down their search for Mauricio Pochettino’s successor to four candidates, with Enzo Maresca, Kieran McKenna and Thomas Frank all making the club’s shortlist.

It is hoped that Chelsea will be in a position to make an appointment by the start of June, if not a little earlier, with the sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart working around the clock.

Telegraph Sport understands that Chelsea have dropped interest in Stuttgart’s Sebastian Hoeness and Girona’s Michel, which leaves a so far unknown fourth candidate in the race to become Chelsea’s next head coach.

Chelsea have made checks of some sort on all of their four candidates, but have not yet settled on one single favourite with further talks likely to dictate who emerges as the front-runner.

Although Chelsea are working quickly and will be aware they could soon face some competition from Manchester United, who are expected to sack Erik ten Hag after the FA Cup final, the process is expected to run into next week.

Maresca, McKenna and Frank all have internal support at Chelsea, and it is understood that all three managers would be interested in the prospect of moving to Stamford Bridge.

Director of recruitment and talent Joe Shields worked with Leicester City manager Maresca at Manchester City, during which time he coached a team that included Cole Palmer.

McKenna’s progress has been tracked by Chelsea staff for some time, while incoming set-piece specialist Bernardo Cueva worked closely with Frank at Brentford.

Whoever Chelsea appoint must fit into the club’s structure and the club want a coach who will be possession-based and look for his team to control games.

Chelsea are also assessing how suited candidates to succeed Pochettino are to the club’s current squad and the future recruitment plans.

Maresca’s buy-out clause in his Leicester contract is thought to be in the region of £10 million, more than double that of McKenna at Ipswich Town, after increasing in value following the club’s promotion to the Premier League. Frank signed his last Brentford contract in 2022, which increased his previous £3 million buy-out.

United are likely to put both McKenna and Frank on their managerial shortlist if, as expected, they sack Ten Hag.

Though Ipswich have offered McKenna a lucrative new contract, last season’s Championship runners-up are prepared for the eventuality of him leaving.

Ipswich’s recruitment process to find McKenna’s replacement is understood to have started months ago and has cranked up with the prospect of their highly-rated manager joining another club.