Next Chelsea manager: The favourites to replace Mauricio Pochettino

  • Chelsea parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino at end of first season
  • Roberto De Zerbi among favourites to replace Argentine in west London
  • Enzo Maresca and Kieran McKenna, two promotion-winning managers, strongly backed
Roberto De Zerbi and Enzo Maresca are two names strongly linked with Chelsea
Roberto De Zerbi and Enzo Maresca are two names strongly linked with Chelsea / David Rogers/Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images

For seemingly the 227th time of the Todd Boehly era, Chelsea are on the hunt for a new manager.

The Blues are churning through managers at such an unrelenting rate that even Watford owner Gino Pozzo is getting a little restless. That was his schtick.

Pochettino's successor will be the club's 24th manager of the 21st century, meaning the Catholic Church have appointed fewer Popes since 1722 than Chelsea have had managers in 24 years.

Anyway, Poch's departure via mutual consent leaves the west London club needing a new figurehead. Boehly and company are still committed to a long-term project, so a 'young and progressive' coach will be sounded out.

Here are the current favourites for the role.

6. Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel
Tuchel led Chelsea to their second Champions League title in 2021 / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Who fancies a reunion?

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte are names that typically flutter around rumour mills when Chelsea are in need of a manager, but neither of those Premier League title winners will be returning to the club.

A move for Tuchel, who oversaw the club's second Champions League triumph in 2021, also seems unlikely. However, the German is out of a job having left Bayern Munich and will certainly believe he has unfinished business in west London given the circumstances of his departure.

He departed the club in 2022 on frosty terms with the hierarchy, though, and Chelsea would surely only pivot to Tuchel out of desperation.

5. Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank
Frank is already working in west London / Warren Little/GettyImages

Another coach who adores a back three (five), Frank does things a little differently to Amorim.

Frank's Brentford are horrible to play against. Their inferior talent is compensated by their grit, aggression and ability to counter-attack to great effect. The Bees are typically brilliant from set pieces, too.

The German comes across superbly off the field and has reportedly caught the eye of the Chelsea hierarchy, even if he doesn't particularly align stylistically.

Frank would merely be moving across west London if he did make the switch, although he recently said he's not actively looking for a bigger job.

4. Ruben Amorim

Ruben Amorim
Liverpool and West Ham were also interested in Amorim / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

Amorim is regarded as one of Europe's most highly-regarded young coaches, and Chelsea considered the Sporting CP boss before appointing Pochettino last year.

Amorim has garnered interest from Liverpool and West Ham having guided Sporting to the Primeira Liga title in 2023/24.

He did so while overseeing a brand of football synonymous with the elites. Amorim seeks to control bouts with periods of sustained possession and a coherent back three structure that aims to prevent teams from transitioning through the centre. There's a pragmatic edge to him which Chelsea fans would appreciate, too.

Having previously expressed an interest, it'd be a surprise if the Blues weren't somewhat keen this time around.

3. Kieran McKenna

Kieran McKenna
McKenna has overseen back-to-back promotions with Ipswich Town / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

No manager has seen their stock rise more exponentially than McKenna over the past 18 months.

McKenna has inspired Ipswich Town to back-to-back promotions and their maiden Premier League berth in over two decades.

The former Man Utd assistant coach was recently named the LMA Manager of the Year for his 2023/24 exploits, and he certainly fits the profile of manager Chelsea are after.

However, supporters will undoubtedly have concerns over McKenna's pedigree and the size of the task ahead of him should he take the job. The 38-year-old has a wealth of coaching experience, but just three years at the senior level.

2. Roberto De Zerbi

Roberto De Zerbi
De Zerbi left Brighton at the end of the season / Charlie Crowhurst/GettyImages

De Zerbi built on the impressive foundations led by Graham Potter at Brighton to lead the Seagulls on their maiden European voyage.

Brighton's football at the start of his tenure was swashbuckling, and their Europa League journey was magical up until it ended. However, De Zerbi's reign petered out in year two, as it became clear with months of the 2023/24 season remaining that the Italian wouldn't be sticking around for much longer.

De Zerbi's style has seen him garner plenty of plaudits, and a whole host of European clubs are interested in appointing him this summer. His current unemployed status makes it easier for potential suitors to snatch him up.

The Blues attempted to evolve into Brighton when they acquired Potter in 2022. Perhaps they'll try again with the fiery and tempestuous De Zerbi.

1. Enzo Maresca

Enzo Maresca
Enzo Maresca led Leicester City to the Championship title / George Wood/GettyImages

Another potential appointment from the McKenna-infused Championship waters, Leicester boss Enzo Maresca is the surprise frontrunner for the top job at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian, who spent time as the Elite Development Squad manager at Manchester City and by proxy is a disciple of Pep Guardiola, took over at King Power Stadium last summer, and oversaw an immediate return to the top flight.

The Foxes' style of play under Maresca would certainly appear to fit the 'progressive' brief, and his previous work at City suggests he's more than on board with developing youth.

Leicester's inability to really invest could play a huge role in whether or not Maresca can be tempted away - PSR regulations a very real concern as the East Midlanders contemplate having to sell before they can strengthen.