Pochettino top target for Chelsea as head coach

United Kingdom, April 25, 2023: Chelsea is closing in on appointing Mauricio Pochettino as their head coach to replace interim head coach Frank Lampard. Pochettino is the favourite and there is growing confidence talks will end in a successful conclusion.

The former Tottenham manager, unemployed since leaving Paris Saint‑Germain last summer, emerged as the frontrunner after Julian Nagelsmann withdrew from the race at the end of last week.

Pochettino has held a series of positive talks with Chelsea’s owners and further discussions took place on Monday. It is understood confirmation of the Argentinian as the permanent successor to Graham Potter could come soon.

It has been stressed, though, that the deal is not done and that the club have other candidates in mind in case negotiations collapse. Chelsea has not offered Pochettino the job yet. It is unclear whether he would start immediately or in the summer if a deal is struck.

Chelsea’s controlling co-owners, Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, are under pressure to make the right appointment after a chaotic first season. Pochettino, whose links with Spurs are unlikely to be an impediment to his taking the job, would be the third permanent manager to work under this ownership. Chelsea put Frank Lampard in temporary charge after firing Potter this month.

Potter, who had been in post for only seven months, had been brought in after the shock dismissal of Thomas Tuchel last September. However Chelsea, who has spent close to £600m since last summer, fired the former Brighton manager after a dreadful run. Chelsea lies 11th in the Premier League and is unlikely to play in Europe next season.

Boehly and Eghbali have put the co-sporting directors, Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, in charge of identifying candidates. The widespread expectation at first was that the job would go to Nagelsmann, who was available after being sacked by Bayern Munich last month.

The 35-year-old German impressed during talks but pulled out after developing concerns over the role. Chelsea have maintained Nagelsmann was never their first choice and that they had doubts after conducting background checks.

The hierarchy has been keen not to rush the appointment and have assessed a series of managers. Burnley’s Vincent Kompany is prominent in Chelsea’s thinking and there is interest in Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou and Feyenoord’s Arne Slot. Interest in Luis Enrique and Rúben Amorim is unlikely to be pursued.

The expectation remains that Chelsea want an elite manager and Pochettino fits the bill. The 51‑year‑old led Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019 and won Ligue 1 with PSG. He had a transformative effect on Spurs after joining from Southampton in 2014, turning them into title contenders and improving many of the young players.

Pochettino’s relationship with Spurs deteriorated after they lost the Champions League final to Liverpool and he lost his job in November 2019. However his stock remains high and it would be a coup for Chelsea to land him. Pochettino has the strength of character to revive the club and his experience of the Premier League puts him above other candidates.

By The Guardian

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