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Managing Chelsea: Enzo Maresca announced as Michael Olise signs, four sold and new left-back joins

Incumbent Chelsea manager Enzo Maresca
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)


Chelsea once again have a busy summer on their hands. For the third year in a row a different manager will lead them through the transfer window, and with a European Championships and Copa America filled few months ahead of the Olympics and pre-season, there is plenty to navigate.

With this in mind the club are set to welcome in another fresh head coach. He will have a lot on his plate if the grand Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital plan is to be realised sooner rather than later, or at all.

Here, football.london has taken a look at just what the club should be focusing their attention on in the lead up to their 2024/25 campaign. Starting with a pretty obvious one.

Enzo Maresca announced

A simple one to start. Before any of the really big decisions can be made Chelsea need to get possibly the most important one out of the way. Maresca must be officially named boss soon.

The quicker it is done and all the finances and terms are agreed then the better it is for all parties. It is all but complete now but leaving players in limbo during holiday isn't helpful. The Italian will want to get his feet under the table at the earliest possible opportunity.

There's a lot of bodies to meet at Chelsea, new faces to learn, names to memorise, and work to be done. Settling in at Cobham, finding a place to live around Surrey, and getting comfortable will be key for the coach and his travelling staff.

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Maresca can then go about conducting the formalities. He will have to win over a great deal of Chelsea fans that are so far waiting to be impressed due to his small body of work. The caution is understandable given just how much change there has been in the past two years.

The 44-year-old is often a strong speaker which will come to his aid when attempting to put across his ideas but it must also impress those that he will be in front of on a weekly basis. Stamford Bridge historically doesn't do patience and Maresca will be no different.

Ensuring that an announcement is made, the appointment finished, before even the dawn of the summer kicks in, will be huge. Maresca and Chelsea must give themselves time in the next few weeks before pre-season, international tournaments, and then a tour of America. They'll need all the help they can get.

Sign Michael Olise

Moving onto the juicy stuff. Chelsea's squad still needs some work doing to it. Although there are the raw ingredients for a strong Premier League side, and Maresca will be aiming to get his principles across onto a talented group, there are areas for improvement.

It is said that during his talks in Spain with co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, Maresca discussed the possibility of signing a new goalkeeper, left-back (more on that to come), and forward. It's no surprise.

Although Chelsea have spent big on players in recent years there is still uncertainty around the current wingers with none of Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk, or Noni Madueke offering consistency. Cole Palmer certainly does, but he is alone in this camp.

So despite the abundance of talent, Chelsea should sign Michael Olise anyway. He is a true game-changer, a difference-maker, and an electric figure that transforms matches. Should Maresca find similar troubles at Chelsea with breaking down low-blocks then someone of Olise's quality will help.

Palmer was the man to do it all last season but in Olise there is an added trickery. His left foot provides something that even Palmer may not be able to match. Put the two of them together with Christopher Nkunku in the mix and it would be one of the most dangerous frontlines in the country.

Eden Hazard took the role of winning games on his own when Chelsea's last rigid and positional Italian boss came in. Perhaps it will be the turn of Palmer or Olise this time.

Selling spree

Chelsea will have to fund their summer activity somehow and it won't be from European competition revenue or broadcast money. The expectation is that in order to comply with Premier League financial rules they will need to sell up in order to break even, let alone be able to afford some of the players they want.

The obvious candidates to be shown the door - because most of these would ideally stay if the choice were entirely theirs - are Conor Gallagher, Trevoh Chalobah, and Armando Broja. The trio of academy graduates all represent 'pure profit' on the accounts and are deemed as more sellable assets than the others.

Gallagher and Chalobah would be valuable members of Maresca's squad if they were to stay, though. As versatile, hard-working, and high-performing options, they underpin what it means to play for the club.

Instead of selling the family silver, Chelsea would be well advised to look elsewhere in the squad for the inefficient parts. Sterling, for example, has not hit the heights expected of him and was even relegated to a bench option towards the end of Mauricio Pochettino's tenure.

Marc Cucurella had a late-season bloom but even then it only went a small way to making up for his 18 months of struggles before that. These two players alone - some of the only remaining memories of the Todd Boehly sporting director summer of 2022 - cost Chelsea over £100million and are big earners.

The Ian Maatsen dilemma

Here's one that combines the previous two points. Chelsea are likely to sell Ian Maatsen for 'pure profit' this summer. Given he is on loan at Borussia Dortmund it makes sense that they trigger his £35million release clause. But why?

Maatsen is perfect for playing in a four-man defence that becomes a 3-2-5 in possession of the ball. Moving either inside to form a midfield pivot (alongside who is another question for Maresca to solve) or bombing up the left to fill a spot in the frontline, he can do a bit of everything.

Ian Maatsen of Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Borussia Dortmund (BVB) at Parc des Princes stadium on May 7, 2024 in Paris, France.
Ian Maatsen may finally have a role at Chelsea after helping Borussia Dortmund reach the Champions League final -Credit:(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

At 22, if building a team of some of the best young players is Chelsea's plan then not selling Maatsen is the best outcome. He is a readymade option with Champions League and top-level experience. He has close to 150 senior games across pretty much the entire pitch, and is already owned by the club.

If he is sold then Chelsea need a new body in this position. Ben Chilwell has not managed to stay fit for almost three years whilst Cucurella has already been discussed. It would be remarkably short-sighted to let a player like Maatsen slip so freely from Chelsea's grasp.

The options to replace him don't stand out either. Alphonso Davies is perenially linked but we are yet to see much evidence of a deal being possible. The rest would likely come at a higher cost than Maatsen can draw. Within a few years the Dutchman will be worth considerably more than his release clause is anyway. He's already outgrown that value in a short space of time.