Inside next Chelsea manager search as three names identified to replace Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino
Former Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino -Credit:Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Months of speculation finally ended on Tuesday evening as Chelsea released a statement to confirm the departure of Mauricio Pochettino as the club's head coach.

The decision, understood to be by mutual consent, comes after the Argentine led Chelsea to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League season in what was a highly eventful debut campaign at Stamford Bridge. The Blues finished the term in sparkling form, winning their last five matches in the league with signs of clear progress finally starting to arrive.

That, however, was not enough to keep Pochettino in his job. The infamous end-of-season review finished on Tuesday, understands, and the mutual decision for the head coach to leave was taken. It is understood that Pochettino and his coaching staff bear no grudges towards the club despite parting company less than 12 months into their reign.

The search for a new head coach will now take place but Chelsea have already done some groundwork in that department. Sebastian Hoeness, the 42-year-old German manager of VfB Stuttgart, is among those being considered. understands some people at Chelsea are big fans of Hoeness' style of play, that has been likened to that of his German compatriot Hansi Flick. Hoeness likes his team to counter-press and plays with an extremely high backline to help with this.

He led Stuttgart to an incredible second-place finish in Bundesliga in the recently-concluded 2023/24 season. The German side scored 78 goals over the course of the 38-game league season which points towards Hoeness' attacking style of football, while conceding six less than Bayern Munich, who finished a place below them.

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Meanwhile, Kieran McKenna of Ipswich Town is another name on the shortlist for Chelsea. The 38-year-old just led the Tractor Boys to the Premier League after an astonishing season in the Championship and is one of the brightest young managers around at this moment.

Ipswich's style of football, that saw them score 92 goals last season, more than anyone else in the division, is something that may well appeal to the Chelsea board. Likewise, the man who finished above McKenna last season, Enzo Maresca of Leicester City, is another name that has been mentioned.

The 44-year-old Italian was once part of Pep Guardiola's coaching staff at Manchester City. Maresca left the Citizens in June 2023 to take up the role as Leicester boss and has not looked back since.

His style of play at the King Power Stadium has been likened to that of Guardiola, who he has clearly taken some inspiration from. During the 2023/24 season, that saw the Foxes dominate the Championship, Maresca would often ask his full-backs to invert to create more options in the middle of the pitch - something we saw Pochettino do with Marc Cucurella and Malo Gusto in his final games as Blues head coach.

Possession-based football, as you would expect, is very much the main objective for Maresca. If he was to be appointed as Chelsea's new head coach, though, it would be just his third senior managerial role in professional football.