Sebastian Hoeness has already discovered his new favourite player amid Chelsea next manager links

Stuttgart manager Sebastian Hoeness may have already found his new favourite Chelsea player after the 42-year-old was linked to the vacancy at Stamford Bridge earlier this week.

The Blues saw former manager Mauricio Pochettino walk away from his post just 11 months after arriving in west London last summer after a two-day meeting with co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali and sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.

It came off the back of a five-game winning run to end the 2023/24 campaign which saw Chelsea finish in sixth in the league, resulting in European football confirmation, on top of two trips to Wembley after deep cup runs in both domestic cup competitions.

Since then, there's been a flurry of rumours surrounding Stamford Bridge with a whole host of names linked to the job, although it still remains unclear as to who the preferred candidate is. Leicester City's Enzo Maresca and ex-Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi are two names said to be on the shortlist, while Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is another said to have had meetings with the Blues.

The Tractor Boys CEO Mark Ashton is believed to be trying to tie McKenna down to a new contract amidst interest from both the Blues and his former employers Manchester United but he still remains a target for both clubs. McKenna oversaw the loan spell of 20-year-old Chelsea winger Omari Hutchinson last season which culminated in 15 goal contributions on top of the club's Young Player of the Season award.

The Jamaican international highlighted McKenna's impact on him in his tribute to Ipswich at the end of their campaign which saw them secure promotion to the Premier League, saying: "I want to reflect on how special this year has been for me. Since arriving at the club you have all made me feel welcome and loved. Thanks to my amazing team-mates who l now call brothers, helped me from the first day I entered that changing room.

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"I’d also like to thank the special people behind the scenes who treated me like one of their own. To all the coaching staff that helped develop me into the player I am today, thank you.

"Most importantly, a massive thank you to Kieran McKenna for trusting and believing in my ability. You brought out the best of me and I will always be grateful for that. Ipswich Town will always have a place in my heart."

Hutchinson, who has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge, has been seen by many across Europe as one of the best rising talents on the continent and his representatives have been fielding numerous calls over the last few weeks - including from Hoeness' Stuttgart about a potential loan move.

The Bundesliga side are believed to be leading the race for Hutchinson's signature, with reports from Germany even claiming he was in attendance for their final match of the season - a 4-0 thrashing of Borussia Monchengladbach. It's unlikely the Blues are looking at a permanent exit as they decide upon his future, with either a place in the already-young first team squad or on a second consecutive loan spell away from west London.