Chelsea: Thomas Frank, Enzo Maresca and Roberto De Zerbi leading candidates for head coach role with Kieran McKenna out of running

Chelsea believe Thomas Frank, Enzo Maresca and Roberto De Zerbi all have the right attributes to replace Mauricio Pochettino; Frank is admired for the job he has done at Brentford, Maresca for his playing style at Leicester

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Nicolas Jackson, Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer gave their reaction to the news that Mauricio Pochettino was leaving Chelsea

Kieran McKenna is no longer being considered to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea, with three now left in the race and an appointment expected this week.

The leading candidates are Thomas Frank, Enzo Maresca and Roberto De Zerbi.

All three men are seen as having the right attributes for the job. The list reflects a desire to appoint a dynamic, forward thinking and progressive coach who fits in with the club’s ideology and who has experience of coaching in English football at a high level.

Frank is admired for the job he has done at Brentford, while Leicester manager Maresca appeals particularly because of his style of play, and, like Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, he worked with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

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The new Chelsea head coach will sign a contract which will be longer than the two-year deal Pochettino accepted last summer.

Chelsea co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart have been working on drawing up the final shortlist of recommended candidates.

The final decision on the new head coach will be made by the Chelsea ownership group, which includes co-owners Behdad Eghbali and Todd Boehly.

Pochettino beat Arne Slot and Vincent Kompany to the job last summer. The three men were on the final shortlist and Ange Postecoglou was also a leading candidate.

Senior Chelsea figures believe the new head coach will be the final piece of the jigsaw to fit into the new modern structure they have built at the club.

Chelsea expect to be busy in the transfer market this summer with players coming and going. Trading is likely to see the signing of a new No. 9 and centre back while the futures of high-earners such as Romelu Lukaku and Kepa Arrizabalaga need to be resolved.

Although Chelsea have to comply with the Premier League’s financial regulations, they are not under pressure to sell homegrown players such as Conor Gallagher and Reece James before the end of June.

Chelsea are close to completing a deal worth up to £42m to sign Estevao Willian from Palmeiras. Chelsea will pay an initial £30m and £12m in potential add-ons for the winger who will move to Stamford Bridge after he turns 18 next year.

Chelsea’s long-term vision for new head coach

Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol:

“A lot of senior members at Chelsea are impressed with the job Thomas Frank has done at Brentford having established them as a Premier League side on a smaller budget. They also like his personality and the way that he carries himself as a good communicator. He’s also more adaptable when it comes to style of play.

“He’s not as dogmatic as someone like Enzo Maresca. He didn’t have any previous managerial experience – just as Arteta didn’t – but you know exactly what style you’re going to get.

“You’re going to get possession-based football the whole time. Chelsea liked De Zerbi when he was at Brighton and his compensation package would be a lot less now that he is out of work.

“What Chelsea want is someone who is happy being a head coach and is happy working in the structure that they have set up. They’re not interested in somebody who wants to wield power as an old-school manager.

“The Chelsea owners feel they have built that modern structure and the new coach is the final piece of the jigsaw who they hope is there for the best part of the next decade. The new coach can expect a long-term contract.”

What’s next for Poch?

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Gary O’Neil and Rob Edwards were among the managers to react to the news Pochettino had left Chelsea

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solekhol:

“Mauricio Pochettino is raring to go again after leaving Chelsea. His departure from Stamford Bridge was amicable. It just didn’t work out. Finishing sixth isn’t good enough for the owners. They don’t just want to finish top four, but they want to be competition regularly for the Premier League title.

“I don’t think he really bought into what the Chelsea owners wanted to do. He wants to work again but it’s too early to talk about any specific jobs as it will be an interesting summer for out-of-work managers.

“He likes living and working in England, so, depending on the terms of his departure from Chelsea, it would be no surprise to see him back at work in the Premier League at some point in the future.

“Chelsea believe they are a Champions League club. For a variety of reasons, they’ve not met that target. There are no hard feelings between the owners and Pochettino, the players like him, and fans like him too.

“It’s a job that takes time. Chelsea managers don’t get a lot of time and it seems like history is repeating itself under the new ownership.”


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