Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeFive of the BestRanking the five favourites to become Chelsea manager

Ranking the five favourites to become Chelsea manager

Chelsea are searching for a new head coach after the decision was made for Mauricio Pochettino to leave the club this week.

An end-of-season review saw the Blues and Pochettino come to a mutual decision to part ways, after a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League in 2023-24.

The decision has come as a surprise given Chelsea’s improvement across the run-in, including a run of five consecutive Premier League wins to end the campaign.

Chelsea are understood to be targeting a progressive young coach with an attractive brand of football and an ability to develop young players, following record-breaking investment in players of potential in recent transfer windows.

As Chelsea conduct their search, we’ve looked at the bookmakers’ five favourites to become the club’s next manager.

Thomas Frank – 8/1

Thomas Frank has won admirers at West London neighbours Brentford, taking the Bees into the Premier League and consolidating the club at the top level.

Brentford secured a top-half finish in the Premier League last season despite possessing one of the lowest wage bills in the division, while Frank ensured the Bees remained clear of trouble this season despite the eight-month suspension of leading scorer Ivan Toney.

Having worked well in a structured hierarchy with data-led recruitment, he has been considered a candidate for a number of the leading vacancies on offer this summer. However, the Dane believes he will be at Brentford when the new season arrives.

“I will probably be on that touchline on August 17,” Frank told The Athletic.

“I think that will happen. I’m happy here. I’ve said it many times and I mean it.

“It’s close to the perfect football life. I’m not in any rush or searching to do something else but I also think I’ve learned in life I’m open for what can happen.”

Ruben Amorim – 4/1

Ruben Amorim’s name continues to be touted with top clubs following a stellar spell at Sporting Lisbon.

The 39-year-old led Sporting to a first league title in 19 years in 2020/21 and has guided the capital club to a second Primeira Ligue triumph this season.

His high-intensity football and flexible formation will appeal to a Chelsea board that wants style alongside success, and the Blues are long-term admirers of a coach regarded as one of the best outside Europe’s top leagues.

After talks over moves to Liverpool and West Ham fell through, the interest in Amorim from England might not be over.

Enzo Maresca – 4/1

Enzo Maresca has placed himself in contention for the Chelsea role after guiding Leicester City to promotion this season. The Italian had two spells on the coaching staff at Manchester City, working alongside Pep Guardiola, before taking the reins at Leicester last summer.

He guided the Foxes to the second-tier title and an instant return to the Premier League, following the club’s shock relegation in 2022-23.

There’s certainly a Guardiola influence on his approach, with a focus on deep build-up and patient approach play. He could be the latest Guardiola disciple to move into top-level management with success, after Mikel Arteta and Xabi Alonso.

Kieran McKenna – 7/2

Another coach who has cut his teeth in the Championship, Kieran McKenna’s tenure at Ipswich Town has been extraordinary.

McKenna took charge of the Tractor Boys in December 2021 with the club struggling in the third tier. His first two full seasons have consisted of back-to-back promotions, with Ipswich returning to the Premier League for the first time in more than two decades.

The 38-year-old, a former assistant at Manchester United, discussed his future this week and said speculation is an inevitable product of success.

“Look, the club has had such a positive season and has such a positive future ahead,” McKenna told Sky Sports after being presented with the League Managers Association (LMA) Manager of the Year award for 2023-24.

“We’ve achieved so much, it’s been an incredible two years. When you have success like that there always comes speculation and things like that, we’ve seen that every summer.

“But I know how much everyone is looking forward to the season, the club is on a fantastic path and everyone is just really looking forward to the season ahead.

“I know what we’ve achieved isn’t a normal thing so there’s always going to be speculation. But that’s not where my focus is… tonight is about what we’ve achieved over the last couple of seasons.

“It’s been a wonderful couple of years so tonight is about celebrating that. I know everyone is looking forward to next season and I know the club is going to be in a really good place going into that season.”

Roberto De Zerbi – 7/4

Roberto De Zerbi has been installed as the early favourite after confirming his exit from Brighton.

The Italian impressed during his two seasons on the south coast and led Brighton to a top-six finish in the Premier League last season, the highest in the club’s history, to secure European qualification for the first time.

Despite a tougher second season, De Zerbi’s side reached the knockout rounds of the Europa League and ended the campaign in the Premier League’s top half in 2023-24.

His fluid football has seen Brighton compete with the top teams in the league and the Seagulls ranked fifth for shots per game, fourth for average possession and second for pass accuracy last season.

Read – Chelsea line up four potential managers as Pochettino sacked

See more – Pochettino leaves Chelsea by mutual consent

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