Next Chelsea boss: Thomas Tuchel, Kieran McKenna, Sebastian Hoeness & the top 10 candidates to replace Mauricio Pochettino following shock exit



Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2024 by Goal.com

Next Chelsea boss: Thomas Tuchel, Kieran McKenna, Sebastian Hoeness & the top 10 candidates to replace Mauricio Pochettino following shock exit

Thomas Tuchel, Kieran McKenna and Sebastian Hoeness are among Chelsea's managerial candidates following Mauricio Pochettino's departure.

Initially, news that Mauricio Pochettino would be leaving Chelsea felt like a shock. But, if we're being honest with ourselves, the Argentine had been laying the foundations for his exit for some time.

The not-so-subtle jibes at sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, the claims that this "wasn't his team", the throwaway comment that his departure would "not be the end of the world" - all of this pointed to a man who simply wasn't happy in his job. And on Tuesday, Chelsea finally put a full stop on this saga, confirming that Pochettino would indeed be moving on.

"Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and Sporting Directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club's history. The Club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come," Pochettino said in a statement.

According to The Telegraph, the reasons for this split are a difference in opinion over the future direction of the team. Essentially, Pochettino wanted more control over proceedings, something that Chelsea weren't willing to give him.

Thus, despite their excellent end to the season, the Blues are now on the lookout for his successor. Nothing has been confirmed yet, with the decision to part with Pochettino only just being rubber stamped, but there have been several names linked with the post already. Below, GOAL runs through some of the top candidates to take over at Stamford Bridge.

Sebastian Hoeness

Hoeness wasn't a name known outside of German football before this season. However, his exploits with Stuttgart this campaign has led to him being linked with a string of top clubs. Initially joining the Bundesliga side back in April 2023, he helped lift them off the bottom of the table and into the relegation play-off, where they beat Hamburg.

But this term he's defied all expectations, guiding Stuttgart to a remarkable second-place finish. They even managed to collect more points than Bayern Munich. At 42, Hoeness certainly fits the age profile Chelsea seem to be looking at, but having a manager of such meagre standing come in would surely not go down well with the Chelsea fanbase.

Jose Mourinho

No manager in world football splits opinion quite like the Special One. But regardless of what you think of his ability to manage in the modern game, it seems unlikely Boehly and Co will hand Mourinho a third stint at Stamford Bridge this summer.

The Blues want a young, upcoming coach who can give them an identity. Mourinho, now 61-years-old, is the antithesis of this. Chelsea's board never cease to amaze, though, so don't rule out this return completely. Mourinho, for his part, would surely be interested.

Max Allegri

Much like Mourinho, Allegri would seem to represent the 'old guard' of managers that Chelsea seem determined to move away from under their current ownership. The Italian's trophy cabinet is impressive, but he's never been much of a footballing entertainer and his most recent spell at Juventus ended acrimoniously.

His players tend to like him, though, and a unifying figure such as this might be a useful asset for Chelsea with further turnover expected in the summer transfer window.

Roberto De Zerbi

A few days before Chelsea dropped their managerial bombshell, Brighton also shook the Premier League by announcing the departure of De Zerbi - not long after the Italian insisted he had no plans to leave the south coast. The Seagulls haven't been quite as impressive as they were in his debut season, with fatigue no doubt playing a role in that, but if it's an exciting identity they're after, he could be the man.

Saying that, it's difficult to see De Zerbi not clashing with those above him at the club at some point. He's never been one to avoid confrontation if he isn't happy, and the board might be looking for someone more pliable to their vision of the club.

Gareth Southgate

Regardless of how England fare at Euro 2024, it's difficult to envisage Southgate staying in his post beyond the tournament. That means he could be exploring a return to the club game over the summer, with Manchester United being very strongly linked in recent times.

Chelsea might now take a look at the Three Lions boss too. His statesmanlike qualities would be welcomed at Stamford Bridge, considering all the noise that is likely to follow in the coming months, but there remain massive doubts over his tactical acumen - particularly in big games. Then again, he's not one to rock the boat, which means he should be willing to work with the club's two sporting directors. Boehly will like that.

Michel

Michel has been catapulted into the limelight following a miraculous campaign at Girona. The City Football Group-owned club incredibly led La Liga at the halfway point and are guaranteed to finished third, ensuring Champions League qualification for the first time in their history.

Chelsea would represent a massive step up for the Spaniard, but there is a lot to like about his performance at Girona this season. His side keep the ball excellently and he's clearly a superb coach, with a whole host of players smashing their apparent ceilings over the past few months.

Enzo Maresca

Under Maresca's leadership, Leicester survived an alarming end-of-season wobble to clinch the Championship title and secure an immediate return to the Premier League. Tactically, he's an interesting fellow, with his side's no-holds-barred fluidity making them an intriguing proposition.

The Foxes' financial problems mean the Italian would almost certainly entertain an offer from west London. However, like with so many names on this list, he would be fighting an uphill battle to get the Stamford Bridge crowd on his side. His sometimes ponderous style wasn't universally popular with Leicester fans at points this season too.

Thomas Frank

Despite Brentford's first poor Premier League season this time out, Frank's reputation as a solid hand remains intact. Under the Dane, Brentford have been a resolute outfit, though the form of Ivan Toney before the current campaign shows he can also get the best out of top-class forward players too.

If Chelsea want this next appointment to feel genuinely exciting, though, Frank probably isn't the man. He feels like far too sensible a choice to ever be properly considered by the Blues.

Kieran McKenna

Not only did McKenna's Ipswich secure an unlikely Championship promotion this season, they did so while playing scintillating football. The former Manchester United man is now rated as one of the best coaches in England, with Brighton understood to be very interested in appointing him as De Zerbi's successor.

But could Chelsea's entry into the managerial market throw a spanner in the works? It would certainly be the bold appointment the Blues seem to be after, but once again, it's a tough one to sell to the supporters. McKenna has never even managed in the Premier League.

Thomas Tuchel

Within seconds of Chelsea confirming Pochettino's departure, fans flocked to social media to demand the return of Tuchel. After leading the Blues to an unexpected Champions League triumph in 2021, it's little surprise that he remains so popular.

However, does his return make sense for all parties? It's clear that Tuchel demands a level of control over proceedings that may not be afforded to him within the current structure at Stamford Bridge. Nevertheless, his track record is impressive and reappointing him would help dispel some of the ill feeling that has festered in west London over the past few years.

If the board can rein him in and prevent any public criticism of the club, this reunion does seem to make a decent amount of sense. But reports are conflicted regarding whether Chelsea would be willing to reappoint the German.



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