De Zerbi, McKenna, Tuchel - Next Chelsea manager candidates after Mauricio Pochettino exit

Roberto De Zerbi is free to hire after leaving Brighton on Sunday
Roberto De Zerbi is free to hire after leaving Brighton on Sunday -Credit:Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

The exit of Mauricio Pochettino signals the third permanent manager to leave Chelsea since the arrival of Todd Boehly and his consortium BlueCo in 2022.

Pochettino had guided Chelsea to sixth and thus European football after a rocky first half of the season, also taking the Blues to the Carabao Cup final and FA Cup semi-final. However, it was announced on Tuesday that the Argentine had left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent.

Pochettino’s voluntary exit means Chelsea are spared from dishing out sacking compensation from his two-year deal. The search for a new head coach starts immediately and there are already several names linked with a move.

Kieran McKenna

The Ipswich Town boss has helped the Tractor Boys to back-to-back promotions upon their return to the top-flight this season. Chelsea have been linked with the 38-year-old, as have former club Manchester United, with whom he was formerly a coach.

Roberto De Zerbi

The Italian left Brighton on Sunday after unexpectedly announcing his forthcoming departure on Friday. He has long been linked with Chelsea and now a vacancy has opened up.

Sebastian Hoeness

The 42-year-old has guided Stuttgart to Champions League qualification this season after the club only avoided relegation from the Bundesliga last season via a play-off. Chelsea would have to pay to prise him out of his 2027 contract.

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The Girona manager has enjoyed an unforgettable season, helping the club finish third in La Liga, uncatchable by Atletico Madrid in fourth with a game to go. Girona are a part of the City Football Group, so he would be a tough capture given rival Manchester City’s links.

Enzo Maresca

Maresca left Man City last year to take up the job at Leicester and guided them to the Championship title and, of course, promotion back to the Premier League. He still has two years left on his Foxes deal.

Thomas Tuchel

Perhaps the most unlikely candidate given his falling out with Boehly, but Tuchel would be a free arrival upon his exit from Bayern Munich. Tuchel was dismissed in 2022 and replaced by Graham Potter, who is also currently unemployed.