Next Chelsea manager: Roberto De Zerbi reveal, Enzo Maresca stance and Xavi 'meeting'

Roberto De Zerbi
-Credit: (Image: Gareth Copley/Getty Images) (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Chelsea's hunt for their next manager is set to continue into a second week as the Blues look to appoint a permanent replacement following Mauricio Pochettino surprise exit four days ago.

The Argentinian had secured European football for his side with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth on the final day of the season that capped off a five-match winning run after finishing sixth in the Premier League, but decided to walk away from Stamford Bridge just three days later following a meeting with the club's owners and sporting directors.

It's believed the likes of Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna, Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca and Brentford's Thomas Frank are all potential candidates for the role, with the latter said to have already held multiple meetings with the Blues around the possibility of taking the role.

Sensational returns for the likes of Thomas Tuchel or Jose Mourinho are said to be extremely unlikely, despite a vocal minority of supporters calling for them on social media, with the club's ownership said to want to take the Blues in a different direction for the future rather than looking back into the past.

So with the search for Todd Boehly's sixth Chelsea manager in only the two years since he took over as club chairman, here's the latest on who the Blues may appoint to man the dugout ahead of a crucial 2024/25 campaign...

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Robert De Zerbi 'reveal'

Roberto De Zerbi is said to be the 'mystery manager' that was the fourth name on Chelsea's shortlist of candidates for the vacant role. Reports earlier in the week suggested that alongside McKenna, Maresca and Stuttgart manager Sebastian Hoeness, there was a fourth name that had not yet been revealed.

The former Brighton manager is currently the bookies' favourite for the role, but his appointment would mean the club would be forced to pay the Seagulls compensation. It's believed his original release clause was around £12.8m (€15m) but is now somewhere less than £8.6m (€10m) after the agreement he made with the club around his departure from the Amex Stadium. understands that there is interest in De Zerbi and he fits the mould of head coach the club's owners are looking for.

Enzo Maresca stance

According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, Leicester manager Maresca would favour a switch to a Premier League club over any other league after being approached from the likes of La Liga club Sevilla, an offer which he has already reportedly rejected. It's said that he’s waiting for Chelsea's decision after holding meetings with the club over the past few days.

The Italian's release clause is around €10m (£8.5m) after getting the Foxes promoted straight back to the Premier League having won the Championship. Of course, Maresca has worked under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City in the past, and managed both Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia, two of Chelsea's brightest young stars, when they were in the City academy which could be a major benefit to making him manager.

Xavi 'meetings'

The former Barcelona boss has made his intentions of leaving the La Liga giants clear over the last few months, and has consistently muddied rumours about him staying. After guiding them to a second-place finish in the Spanish top flight, as well as the Copa del Rey and Champions League Quarter-finals, the club's legendary midfielder-turned-manager's walked from the Nou Camp.

Now he's on the market, he's inevitably been linked with the vacancy at Chelsea, with Spanish outlets reporting that he's preparing to hold talks with the Blues about the role. The Spaniard does play a heavy-possession style of football, something that is keeping in line with what sources believe Boehly and his sporting directors are looking for at Stamford Bridge.

When losing the ball, Barcelona would often immediately regain possession due to their numerical advantages in midfield, leading to them recycling the ball in order to not lose it - another possession-based tactic Boehly could be hoping to employ at Chelsea. Xavi also likes to have his defenders engage in a high press, a factor in why his Barcelona side were able to score so many goals after winning the ball high up on the pitch.