Chelsea make final decision on McKenna amid shock Fabregas manager prediction

Joe Williams
Chelsea manager target Kieran McKenna
Kieran McKenna has been linked with the Chelsea job.

Chelsea have ruled out making Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna their new manager as they close in on Mauricio Pochettino’s replacement, according to reports.

It had been understood that the 38-year-old – who led Ipswich Town back to the Premier League this season – was a leading contender to take over from Pochettino.

The task of identifying a replacement for the Argentinian, who departed on amicable terms having failed to reach agreement with Chelsea over how much responsibility he would be given over football matters, is being overseen by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.

A final decision on any appointment must ultimately be signed off by the club’s co-controlling owners Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali, who is understood to have been lukewarm on the prospect of Pochettino remaining in the job, and Jose E Feliciano.

Former Manchester United and Tottenham coach McKenna is currently in his first senior managerial role, having been appointed at Portman Road when the club were in the third tier in 2021.

He has since earned himself a reputation as one of the most sought-after coaches in the country after leading Ipswich to back-to-back promotions.

But The Athletic journalist David Ornstein now claims:

‘Chelsea’s process to appoint a new head coach is rapidly approaching a conclusion, with the club no longer considering Kieran McKenna among a small number of final candidates for the role.

‘That leaves Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca and Brentford’s Thomas Frank as the only known options remaining to take over.’

Ornstein adds that the Chelsea hierarchy have ‘clear admiration’ for McKenna  but that they ‘have narrowed the possibilities down to a select group that does not feature the former Manchester United assistant’.

Former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard was “sad” to see Pochettino leave the Blues at the end of the season and is tipping Cesc Fabregas to replace him.

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When asked about his reaction to Pochettino’s exit from Stamford Bridge, Hazard said: “I was a bit sad to be fair. I think he did a great job.

“I know people want Chelsea to be in the top four but it’s just a season of transition. He’s a great manager, I wish him good luck. Let’s see who’s going to be there in the future.”

When asked whether former Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi should be the new Chelsea boss, Hazard replied: “Maybe. I also have my friend in Como [Fabregas]. He can be the first manager [winks].”