Chelsea close in on McKenna as top target admits interest in replacing Pochettino

Will Ford
Chelsea are closing in on Kieran McKenna.

Chelsea are closing in on the appointment of Kieran McKenna to replace Mauricio Pochettino as their new head coach having notified Ipswich of their interest in their favoured candidate, who is said to be interested in a move to Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino left Chelsea by mutual consent earlier this week – in a shock for the dressing room and wider public – and the Todd Boehly-led Clearlake Capital ownership is said to be ‘optimistic that the process to replace him will not take long’.

‘Contact several weeks ago’

That’s according to The Guardian, who claim the Blues ‘made contact with McKenna’s representatives several weeks ago’ when it became clear that Pochettino was not going to work effectively in their set-up.

Reports claim Pochettino grew frustrated with his lack of input on signings and the Chelsea board weren’t happy with his training methods or his public criticism of co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley.

The Chelsea chiefs believe McKenna – who is in high demand having led Ipswich Town into the Premier League with back to back promotions – will favour them over a move to either Brighton and Manchester United.

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‘Challenge himself at the highest level’

And the Daily Mail have confirmed that although the current regime has already churned through three permanent managers, with Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter shown the door before Pochettino, McKenna ‘is interested in the Chelsea vacancy’.

The 38-year-old is under contract at Portman Road until 2027 and talks are expected to take place imminently over a new and improved deal, but the report claims ‘the chances of agreeing a new deal are considered slim’.

The report adds that ‘sources close to McKenna have described a desire to challenge himself at the highest possible level’.

Chelsea have also reportedly reached out to Enzo Maresca’s camp as a possible alternative, and the Leicester boss ‘has admirers within Chelsea’s recruitment team, who are impressed with his tactical acumen’, but McKenna is the clear first choice.

The Blues are keen on moving quickly for McKenna as United could ramp up their efforts to find a new manager after the FA Cup final this weekend.