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Chelsea 'identify top candidate to replace Mauricio Pochettino'

Chelsea 'identify top candidate to replace Pochettino'
© Reuters
Chelsea reportedly identify what is described as their "top candidate" to replace Mauricio Pochettino.

Chelsea have reportedly identified their preferred candidate to replace Mauricio Pochettino in the dugout.

The Blues ended their campaign by recording five successive victories, results which ensured that they finished in sixth place in the Premier League standings.

However, just over 48 hours on a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth, it was announced that Chelsea and the Argentine had decided to go their separate ways after discussions on Tuesday.

Although the development is not viewed as a total surprise, Chelsea are now left scrambling for an alternative to the 52-year-old ahead of 2024-25.

A number of reports have indicated that co-owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital want to appoint a younger up-and-coming manager to succeed Pochettino.

Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna and Stuttgart's Sebastian Hoeness have each been suggested as options, but it appears that another candidate may be attracting stronger interest.

Leicester City manager Enzo Maresca reacts on March 17, 2024© Reuters

Maresca highly rated by Chelsea

According to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Chelsea are ready to press ahead with a move for Leicester City's Enzo Maresca.

The report suggests that Boehly and co have been left impressed with Maresca's "tactical approach and recent achievements" at the King Power Stadium.

In his first season in charge of Leicester, the 44-year-old was able to guide the Foxes to the Championship title having accumulated 97 points from their 46 matches.

Maresca has also spent a short period at Parma, with a spell as one of Pep Guardiola's assistants at Manchester City also proving successful.

As it stands, Maresca boasts a managerial record of 40 wins, nine draws and 18 defeats from his 67 matches in all competitions.

Leicester City's manager Enzo Maresca on April 20, 2024© Reuters

How much would Chelsea have to pay for Maresca?

Given the significant pay-off that Pochettino and his staff are due, Boehly and Clearlake Capital may be against shelling out big money on a replacement, aware
it adds to the difficulty of meeting the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability Rules.

However, the report adds that a €10m (£8.5m) release clause is present in Maresca's Leicester contract, a potential stumbling block in negotiations.

Maresca is no stranger to managing a game at Stamford Bridge having taken his Leicester side to the ground for an FA Cup quarter-final in March.

Leicester came from two goals adrift to get back on level terms, only for Chelsea to score twice during the latter stages to seal a 4-2 triumph.

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Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna before the match on February 14, 2024
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