Chelsea manager search down to two-man shortlist; either ‘increasingly likely’ to replace Potter

Jason Soutar
Reported Chelsea targets Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique

Chelsea are ‘increasingly likely’ to appoint Julian Nagelsmann or Luis Enrique as their next manager, according to Matt Law.

The Blues drew 0-0 against Liverpool on Tuesday night, two days after they decided to sack Graham Potter.

Saturday’s defeat at home to Aston Villa saw the Londoners slip into the bottom half of the Premier League with any hope of European qualification fading away.

Nagelsmann – who left Bayern Munich last month – quickly emerged as the bookies’ favourite to replace Potter.

Plenty of names have been linked with the vacant role with Bruno Saltor taking charge on an interim basis until a new manager is appointed.

Former Barcelona and Spain boss Enrique is also among the favourites, while an amusing report on Wednesday claimed that former manager Frank Lampard could return until the end of the season.

It was initially feared that Nagelsmann would not want to manage another club this season after losing his job at the Allianz Arena, though there appears to be growing hope the 35-year-old could take over immediately.

Enrique, on the other hand, is out of work after his dismissal as Spain manager following their disappointing quarter-final exit to Morocco at the World Cup.

Even if a prospective manager will have to come in and manage a ridiculously bloated – and underperforming – squad, it would be surprising to see Enrique hold out until the end of the season.

The Spanish manager reportedly arrived in London on Wednesday to hold talks with the Chelsea hierarchy over the position vacated by Potter.

Following Enrique’s arrival in the capital, it was confirmed by The Telegraph’s Matt Law that the Blues are speaking to him and Nagelsmann.

Writing on Twitter, Law reported that it is ‘increasingly likely at this stage that the next head coach’ will be Enrique or Nagelsmann.

Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano has said Chelsea will continue their negotiations with Nagelsmann, who is the club’s ‘favourite candidate’.

The Italian journalist also confirmed that the Blues are not in talks with former Brazil boss Tite, Napoli’s Luciano Spalletti and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi.

As mentioned prior, Bruno Saltor led Chelsea into their Premier League fixture against Liverpool on Tuesday.

Following the goalless draw, Bruno said: “We created enough chances to win the game. Two goals disallowed. The boys gave everything, they played with their heart. You can’t ask for more.

“It’s execution. They’re in front of the goal. They’re human beings. The confidence has to be there.

“It’s been really difficult for them. It’s not the first time they been in this situation this season. As a player you invest a lot in the manager. There’s been good relationships with Graham and the players. The players have suffered as well.”

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