Pochettino wants to keep one Chelsea player ‘above all’ as he ‘gives approval’ for first signing

Potential new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino Credit: Alamy
Potential new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino Credit: Alamy

Mauricio Pochettino wants to keep Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic at the club, according to reports, amid speculation the American could leave in the summer.

A report on Wednesday claimed that Pochettino had struck a ‘verbal agreement’ with the Blues to become their new manager at the end of the season.

Chelsea are currently on their third manager of the campaign with caretaker manager Frank Lampard replacing Graham Potter – who left Brighton in September to take over from Thomas Tuchel – after he only won 12 of his 31 matches in charge.

Lampard has lost all five of his matches at the helm and some pundits are suggesting that Chelsea should move the appointment of Pochettino forward.

And Pochettino is already planning for the future with Italian website Calciomercato (via Sport Witness) claiming that the Argentine ‘wants to keep some players’ that other managers were ready to discard.

It is understood that Pochettino wants ‘above all Christian Pulisic’ to stay with him at Stamford Bridge with AC Milan and Real Madrid both linked to the USA international, who has never lived up to his £58m transfer fee.

And, as well as highlighting some of the players he wants to keep at Chelsea, Pochettino has ‘already given his approval’ for his first signing with the former Tottenham boss happy for Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana to join.

A deal for Pochettino now seems all but confirmed and CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs brought us a detailed update this week.

Jacobs wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Mauricio Pochettino is in advanced talks to replace Graham Potter at Chelsea. Things are moving fast and as of Monday evening final negotiations were underway. It wasn’t quite a done deal as of Monday night, and Chelsea hadn’t issued any kind of contract, but there was real confidence from both sides a deal was close.

“Things could well progress very quickly now over the coming days, and Pochettino is expected to be joined by his assistant Jesus Perez and his son, Sebastino, who is a sports scientist.

“Chelsea have considered Pochettino multiple times, both under Roman Abramovich and Clearlake-Boehly. Pochettino was a candidate after Thomas Tuchel was sacked in September, but Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali decided to hire Potter instead.

“Plus, Pochettino was not entirely sold on the project back then. This was due to not wanting to rush straight back into work following his PSG exit, and there being less structure at Chelsea.

“Fans may say things are worse now, and that’s true on the field in terms of Chelsea’s season, but remember back then Chelsea didn’t have a recruitment team and the owners and board were basically brand new.

“Now Pochettino has had time to see Chelsea develop and understand the long-term plan. The timing just feels better for Pochettino, and next season can be a bit of a clean slate.”

Jacobs added: “There have also already been talks about summer outgoings and Pochettino’s desire to keep Mount Mason, which is shared by the ownership despite very firm interest from Liverpool.

“With Pochettino, as of Monday night, getting really close and things expected to progress over the next 48 hours, Chelsea can soon start to plan for next season. Of course for much of the hiring process Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique were both considered strong contenders, yet Chelsea sources always stressed it was an open race to replace Potter.

“Julian Nagelsmann was never the preferred candidate and the story behind his withdrawal has two sides. Those close to the ex-Bayern boss say he wasn’t sold on the vision having received what is termed an ‘inconsistent’ picture of it during talks.

“They also stress the hiring process wasn’t structured as Nagelsmann had hoped, which can be taken as code for he thought the job was his.

“Chelsea sources paint a slightly different picture, emphasising Nagelsmann wasn’t prepared to go through what has repeatedly been termed an ‘exhaustive process’.

“The 35-year-old wanted a managerial coronation not a process. It’s also been made clear Chelsea never made Nagelsmann any promises he was their top choice, and that actually due diligence on him provided mixed (and even some negative) feedback.”

READ MORE: Even the biggest Frank Lampard apologists cannot clothe Chelsea’s naked emperor


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