Kieran McKenna 'likely' to turn down Ipswich contract amid big club interest

  • Kieran McKenna could leave Ipswich despite promotion to Premier League
  • Club hoping to secure his longer-term future with new contract
  • Chelsea, Brighton & possibly Man Utd showing interest in 38-year-old
Kieran McKenna has become hot property
Kieran McKenna has become hot property / Stephen Pond/GettyImages

Kieran McKenna has been tipped to turn down the offer of a new contract at Ipswich Town amid interest from Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion. Manchester United could also pursue the 38-year-old if they decide Erik ten Hag isn't the right manager to lead them forward.

Having previously made his name as an assistant coach at Old Trafford, McKenna has come to renewed prominence as a result of back-to-back promotions with Ipswich. He took over the club in League One midway through 2021/22 and brought them back to the Premier League.

McKenna seemed to pledge himself to Ipswich when asked about his future at Tuesday night's LMA award ceremony at which he won Manager of the Year. But a fresh report on Wednesday from BBC Sport suggested his true intention is the "time is right to move".

As such, planned talks with Ipswich this week that are expected to yield the offer of a new deal to try and tie his future to the Suffolk club are considered likely to fail.

It would take £4m to break McKenna and assistant coach Martyn Pert from their current deals, and Ipswich are described as "calm", considering it part of the territory given the club's sudden rise.

Chelsea FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Chelsea need to replace Mauricio Pochettino / Gaspafotos/MB Media/GettyImages

Chelsea are on the hunt for a new manager in the wake of parting company with Mauricio Pochettino, while Brighton need to fill Roberto De Zerbi's shoes.

United, where McKenna was employed for more than five years and worked directly under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after initially leading the Under-18 squad, could come into the conversation if a decision on Ten Hag sees him move on.

McKenna's achievements this season, in only his second full campaign in a senior managerial role, earned him the LMA award ahead of Pep Guardiola, who made history with Manchester City's fourth successive title, and Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta.

Jumping from League One to the Premier League with back-to-back promotions is a rare feat last achieved by Southampton in 2012 under the management of Nigel Adkins.