What Thomas Tuchel has said about potential Chelsea return after Mauricio Pochettino exit crisis

Thomas Tuchel, Head Coach of Bayern Munich, speaks to the media prior to the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and FC Bayern München at PreZero-Arena on May 18, 2024 in Sinsheim, Germany.
Thomas Tuchel has been linked with the now vacant role at Chelsea but is yet to openly suggest he'd like the job at Stamford Bridge following Mauricio Pochettino's exit. -Credit:Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel is yet to definitively say whether he could make a dramatic return to Chelsea this summer following Mauricio Pochettino's exit from Stamford Bridge last night.

The Blues are now set to be on the lookout for a new manager after club chiefs and Pochettino decided to terminate his contract by mutual consent in a meeting on Tuesday morning, despite having led the side to a sixth-place Premier League finish (guaranteeing them European football next season), the Carabao Cup final and the FA Cup semi-final.

In the statement released to the club's website, Pochettino highlighted his appreciation to those above him at the club for his stint, saying: "Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and Sporting Directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club's history. The club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come."

The late boost in form to end the season has made sure that Chelsea will stay as an intriguing prospect to any manager on the market over the next few weeks as the club's higher-ups determine which direction they want to go into. Reports suggest they are set on appointing a 'younger manager', with a four-man shortlist already understood to have been drawn up which includes newly-promoted Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna.

Many saw the announcement as a surprise, including former Chelsea captain John Terry who questioned the future of the club on social media alongside Blues frontman Nicolas Jackson who took to Instagram to vent his frustrations at the outcome. Others, including Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer, wished the Argentinian well as he leaves after just 11 months in charge of the Chelsea dugout.

All of that has led to increased speculation around the possibility of Tuchel's return, despite him not fitting the 'profile' that the club are believed to want. His time at Stamford Bridge would hand him a solid reputation to go by but seeing as he was the first of now six managers to be cut off in the last 20 months by Todd Boehly and company, it's difficult to see a world in which the move does take place.

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The 50-year-old is set to leave his role at Bayern Munich after having reached an agreement with the club to bring an early end to his contract that was originally due to expire in 2025, with the Bundesliga giants suffering their worst domestic finish of the last 13 years amid a rampant rise by Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen who could go on to complete a staggering unbeaten treble this season.

Talking to TNT Sports earlier in the year, Tuchel admitted his future with Bayern is in great doubt, saying: "It’s very, very, very unlikely that it’s at Bayern [next season], I have to say, because we have an agreement, there is at the moment no reason to doubt this agreement. We took this position, the initiative came from the club, and so it is and I’m fine with it.

"I don’t need it for the extra percentage of competitiveness because I’m always up for a win, I’m always thinking how to improve the squad or how to improve myself in coaching. We go all in. Does it have an influence on where I am next season? Maybe not, maybe I’m on holiday no matter what, let’s see, let’s see.

"I’d rather not answer [who my next team could be] but it is no secret that I loved it at Chelsea, I loved it in England and I loved it in the Premier League for sure, it was a very, very special time and I remember it very well."

Other names linked alongside Tuchel with the Blues vacancy are former Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi, Stuttgart boss Sebastian Hoeness, Brentford's Thomas Frank and Leicester City manager Enzo Maresca with the club expected to make a decision on their next head coach in the coming weeks.