Chelsea ‘advancing’ for ‘100% keen’ top manager target in £8.5m deal after McKenna drops out

Joe Williams
Chelsea manager target Enzo Maresca
Enzo Maresca is the new head coach at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are closing in on a deal to bring Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca to Stamford Bridge as their new manager, according to reports.

The Italian, who until last summer was Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, has guided the Foxes back into the Premier League at the first time of asking following their relegation 12 months ago.

That, and the style of football with which he achieved it, has impressed the Chelsea hierarchy who are looking for a successor to Mauricio Pochettino after they parted ways after just one season.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported on Sunday night that Chelsea were ‘no longer considering’ Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna, who has guided the Tractor Boys to back-to-back promotions to the Premier League.

Writing earlier today in his Caught Offside column, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claimed: “We keep hearing so many stories about the Chelsea manager situation, which is normal of course after the departure of Mauricio Pochettino, and with so many other clubs also changing managers this summer, but I wanted to clarify some things here.

“As things stand, Ruben Amorim is not in talks with Chelsea – my understanding is that he is not a candidate as Chelsea would prefer someone with experience of working in English football. So, despite rumours, Amorim is not holding talks over the Chelsea job.

“Kieran McKenna also looks to be out of the running now, though he’s also wanted by Brighton and they’re waiting for his decision. They want an answer from him soon as they search for a replacement for Roberto de Zerbi.

“Finally, Xavi has also been linked with the Chelsea job but again I’m not hearing anything concrete on that one. Xavi is open to opportunities after leaving Barcelona, but at the moment it’s all quiet there and I have no news on any talks taking place or being planned with Chelsea.

“So, the situation is that Chelsea are interested in Enzo Maresca and he’s also interested in the Chelsea job after positive contacts took place over the weekend. It’s now up to Chelsea – decision time is coming soon, and Leicester are waiting to see what happens there before they then decide on who to hire as a replacement.”

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And in an update later on Chelsea interest in Maresca, Romano wrote on X: “Chelsea are advancing in talks to appoint Enzo Maresca as new head coach. Positive talks over the weekend, he’s 100% keen and excited by Chelsea project.

“No issues on Maresca’s contract already being discussed — talks to follow with Leicester City over €10m compensation fee.”

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