Mauricio Pochettino leaving summer recruitment to Chelsea’s sporting directors

Mauricio Pochettino reiterated that decisions over incoming and outgoing transfers at Chelsea will not be in his hands this summer, as he waits to learn his own future at Stamford Bridge.

Victory over Bournemouth in Sunday’s Premier League finale ensured European football for the Blues next season, but afterwards the 52-year-old said he was in the dark over whether the club’s ownership planned to keep him on.

A review of the team’s progress under Pochettino, whose debut campaign ended in five consecutive wins and a sixth-placed finish, was due to be undertaken in the days after the season’s conclusion, but he was unclear as to whether the meeting would go ahead.

Decision-making on managerial appointments as well as player recruitment is led by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stuart, but the call on whether or not to retain the Argentinian will ultimately be signed off by co-owner Todd Boehly – with whom Pochettino shared “a very nice dinner” on Friday – and his Clearlake Capital group.

Planning for next season is under way with a deal believed to be close for Chelsea to sign highly-rated Brazilian teenager Estevao Willian from Palmeiras, though the PA news agency understands nothing concrete has yet been finalised.

However, uncertainty surrounds the future of midfielder Conor Gallagher, who has captained the team for much of the season, with Aston Villa reported to be interested in signing the academy graduate.

The 24-year-old is entering the final year of his contract and would represent a significant financial boost should he be moved on, given that any sale would count as 100 per cent profit as the club looks to remain within profit and sustainability regulations.

Pochettino said of summer recruitment plans: “That’s a club decision. Of course, like I was from the beginning, always I am going to be there to help if (the owners) want. If not, we’re going to do our job.”

Following the Bournemouth game, which Chelsea won 2-1 thanks to a wonder goal in the first half from Moises Caicedo and a second after the break from Raheem Sterling, Pochettino stayed on the pitch and embraced players and club staff but did not address supporters, nor did he join the squad in a lap of honour.

After staying to watch an emotional farewell to departing defender Thiago Silva, who is leaving the club after four years, the manager made his way down the tunnel whilst the players stayed to thank the fans.

“I’m so pleased and so proud of the players,” he said. “You can see at the end of the game, players who play less or that were injured, in the way that they came to hug me, I think it was very, very nice.

“The relationship that we have, sometimes we are tough with them. Sometimes we need to make our choices. But we feel so proud of the way they are working.

“Even in tough moments during the season, always they showed respect to us and belief in the way we present our job.”


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