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Enzo Maresca can save Chelsea millions on summer transfers with decisions on five fringe stars

Enzo Maresca
-Credit: (Image: Malcolm Couzens)


With Chelsea set to confirm the appointment of Enzo Maresca as the club's head coach in the coming days, there are a few of the squad's fringe players that will be hoping to find a new burst of life under the Italian.

Maresca is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Blues, who have swiftly replaced Mauricio Pochettino following his departure last week. Chelsea initially had a shortlist of candidates, including Kieran McKenna, Roberto De Zerbi and Thomas Frank, but sources have told football.london that senior officials at the club were extremely impressed by the way Maresca conducted himself during initial conversations over a move.

Maresca has since held face-to-face meetings in Marbella with the club's co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley. The swift turnaround in head coaches means Maresca should be well into his job by the time pre-season comes around.

Chelsea are touring the United States once again this summer, where they will be playing in San Jose, Notre Dame, Atlanta, Columbus and Charlotte. During the pre-season campaign, there should be a number of players that were out on loan last term hoping to impress the new head coach in time for the beginning of 2024/25. So, with that being said, Bobby Vincent takes a look at those desperate to impress their new boss.

Angelo Gabriel

The 19-year-old was signed by the Blues last summer from Santos for just over £10million. However, Gabriel is yet to feature for Chelsea in a competitive first-team game.

Instead, the club believed the best course of action for the Brazilian winger would be to loan him out to Strasbourg. It was not the most productive campaign in France in terms of goals and assists, with Gabriel getting four of the latter but none of the former in 25 matches in all competitions.

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We saw glimpses last summer, though, in pre-season of Gabriel's talent so he will be hoping to do even more this time around to try and win over Maresca. However, at this moment in time, a second successive loan move looks to be the most likely option.

Andrey Santos

A frustrating first half of the season for Santos but a much better finish to the campaign. The 20-year-old started the season with Nottingham Forest but barely kicked a ball at the City Ground so the midfielder was then recalled and sent to Strasbourg.

In France, Santos really excelled in his brief time there. While the Brazilian youngster will be keen to show Maresca his undeniable talent in pre-season, there has already been speculation that he could go back to Strasbourg on loan against next term.

David Datro Fofana

Fofana impressed during his brief time at Burnley, who were relegated back to the Championship. The Ivorian does not quite look ready to be starting week in and week out for a team like Chelsea but there could possibly be a place on the bench for him at times next season.

The 21-year-old could benefit from another Premier League loan move if that was the route Chelsea were to go down given they are after another striker. Alternatively, Sevilla remain keen admirers of Fofana, football.london understands, so that may be one to keep an eye on.

Gabriel Slonina

It appears Chelsea are in the market once again for a new goalkeeper. Loads of names have been mentioned in recent days but let's not forget about Slonina.

The young American shot-stopper is very highly rated within the club and may well be given a chance in pre-season. But because the nature of the goalkeeper business, another loan move for Slonina may be the best option next season.

Omari Hutchinson

Chelsea recently exercised an option to extend the contract of Hutchinson until 2026, football.london understands, but there is plenty of interest in the winger's signature. The 20-year-old shone at Ipswich Town last season and the Tractor Boys are keen on re-signing the winger for their first season back in the top-flight in 22 years.

There is also interest from Ajax and Feyenoord in Hutchinson. The Jamaica international will be keen to impress during pre-season and decide his future along the way in time for next term.