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Mauricio Pochettino has already had disagreement with top candidate to replace him at Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino left Chelsea on Tuesday
-Credit: (Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)


Mauricio Pochettino's clash with Roberto De Zerbi over transfer targets saw the latter manage to secure Ansu Fati.

The former Chelsea boss enjoyed a spending spree in his only summer transfer window at Stamford Bridge which saw him splash out on big names like Moises Caicedo for £100million and Romeo Lavia from Southampton for £53million.

Chelsea missed out on Barcelona's Ansu Fati, a potential deal that fell through due to Pochettino's differing views. De Zerbi, tipped to be Pochettino's successor, didn't hesitate to snap up the winger for Brighton, praising him as a top-tier addition to the Premier League, reports the Mirror.

The Athletic reported that Chelsea had the opportunity to sign the young Spaniard, but Pochettino passed on the 21-year-old, who instead joined Brighton for the 2023/24 season, leaving Camp Nou temporarily.

Fati's move to Brighton was a surprise, given his stature, but De Zerbi was delighted, saying: "I'm very pleased, it's a big player," in reference to Fati. "We lost Enciso and we needed one big player. We are lucky because we have a lot of young players, potential top players and it will be one responsibility more.

He stated: "If you work with this talent, you have much responsibility because it's our football heritage and we can't make mistakes with these players because football needs this talent and you have to manage it in different ways."

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The 44-year-old added: "I've always thought like this. Especially for the big, big talent, I feel the responsibility to help this talent to become great players. Sometimes the coaches think only of the result, only of their career but football needs to have great players. It's a big responsibility and I feel it. I think our style is very close with his characteristics, with his qualities."

Despite the fanfare of his signing, Fati didn't find success in England, scoring a mere four goals from 30 games across all competitions. His challenges were amplified by injury troubles and a lack of form with the expectation now is that he will make his way back to a Barcelona team steered by Hansi Flick next season.

Roberto De Zerbi
Roberto De Zerbi is a huge admirer of Ansu Fati -Credit:Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

De Zerbi, on the other hand, may just find himself in charge of Pochettino's Chelsea squad with his name is currently making rounds as a favourite for appointment to the Blues' management position. Leicester manager Enzo Maresca and Brentford's Thomas Frank are also believed to be in the running.

While Pochettino has been earmarked as a candidate for the top job at Old Trafford as despite leading Manchester United to a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday (May 25), Erik ten Hag's future remains uncertain with reports stating the Dutchman is set to be sacked.

However, it is believed that Sir Jim Ratcliffe will take his time before making a final decision on Ten Hag's position.