Mourinho 8th), McKenna 6th): Potential Chelsea next manager appointments ranked on stupidity

Lewis Oldham
Chelsea Pochettino
Potential Mauricio Pochettino replacements ranked on stupidity...

Todd Boehly and co. have been learning on the job at Stamford Bridge since their takeover in 2022 and have made some bloody daft mistakes in the process.

But their decision to part ways with Mauricio Pochettino tops the lot.

The 2023/24 campaign was rough at times, but their form in the run-in justified their decision to appoint Pochettino and recent indications (especially given the Argentinian’s proven ability to work with and improve young players) suggested they were on the right track heading into next season.

But just as the turbulent Bohely ship had settled, a self-inflicted crash into the rocks occurred with Pochettino’s needless exit, which has also gifted Manchester United the chance to pull off an appointment that makes perfect sense with an inevitable FA Cup loss to Man City surely resulting in Erik ten Hag reaching the end of his tether.

Chelsea’s decision to move past Pochettino became even more baffling in the hours following his exit announcement, with the list of potential replacements hardly whetting the appetite of their frustrated supporters.

But as the saying goes, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’. So here is a list of ten managers the Stamford Bridge hierarchy could turn to next and we’ve ranked their potential appointments from most to least stupid on the batsh*t-ometer…

 

10) Cesc Fabregas
While a tick for the 37-year-old is that he #KnowsTheClub, this (which will come as a surprise to some, I’m sure) is not the most important factor when choosing a new manager.

Fabregas’ emergence in the betting odds as a potential candidate for Chelsea comes amid reports claiming the club wants a young manager to replace ancient former head coach Pochettino (who is almost in the grave at the age of 50).

He’s caught the eye for his work with Serie A newcomers Como, but most are overlooking the fact that Fabregas is only their assistant and would join Chelsea having had zero experience as a boss. Surely the Blues wouldn’t be that stupid…

 

9) Frank Lampard
It would be hilarious for neutrals if Chelsea were to turn to Lampard for a third time and we’d be foolish to put it past them.

Yet his previous interim stint at the club (which he presumably viewed as a no-lose situation) went so badly and seemed to do irreparable damage to his already uninspiring managerial reputation.

Not but seriously, a significant rebuild at a lowly club in the Championship or Europe will likely be required if he’s to ever manage in the Premier League again.

 

8) Jose Mourinho
‘The Special One’ may not be the next manager to land in the Chelsea dugout, but it feels like only a matter of time before he’s back at the club he loves for another ill-fated pursuit of glory.

Since leaving AS Roma, Mourinho has had plenty of interest (from the Saudi Pro League mostly), but reports suggest he’d love another crack at the Premier League and if anyone is going to give it to him, the safest money would be on Chelsea or Newcastle United.

Unlike the previous two entries, at least Mourinho’s winning mentality would likely result in Chelsea winning a trophy or two before everything went tits up again.

 

7) Enzo Maresca
One of four underwhelming candidates to replace Pochettino
, Leicester City’s head coach is reportedly in the frame after guiding the Foxes to promotion straight back to the Premier League by winning the Championship in his first season as a boss.

This is impressive on paper and it is to an extent. But with Leicester’s 23/24 squad comfortably being the best in the Championship, Maresca is still largely untested in the management game, so the comparisons to former colleague Pep Guardiola are premature.

6) Kieran McKenna
Of the two Championship promotion-winning managers being linked with a summer move to a Big Six club, McKenna – at this stage – is certainly a better option for Chelsea and/or Manchester United than Maresca. But talk over such a significant step up is still coming too soon.

McKenna-ball has made waves in the Football League as Ipswich Town massively surpassed expectations to achieve back-to-back promotions and the head coach’s potential is huge, but he’d be wise to pursue a couple of cushty learning years with Brighton before taking the risk of joining a banter club.

 

5) Thomas Frank
The Brentford boss has escaped much of the managerial merry-go-round conversation in recent months as his side slipped into the Premier League relegation fight with Ivan Toney’s January return not having the desired effect.

50-year-old Frank’s chances of landing the Chelsea job are also hampered by him being the same age as Pochettino, which – for some reason – is frowned upon.

Also, Frank’s counter-attacking approach makes him the perfect fit for a club of Brentford’s stature and it’s difficult to ever see managing a Premier League club other than the Bees. Then again, Vincent Kompany is falling upwards to join Bayern Munich, so the game’s gone and nothing can be ruled out.

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4) Roberto De Zerbi
De Zerbi and Brighton going their separate ways came as a surprise to certain onlookers. Yet actually, it had been coming for months with consistent hints at conflict dropped during press conferences as the head coach and board butted heads over their transfer strategy and the Italian visibly became increasingly frustrated.

Brighton have had more than their fair share of injuries to deal with this season, but De Zerbi’s bargaining power progressively decreased as their 2023/24 campaign drifted more into the meh category.

His attacking philosophy has its benefits, but after a vanilla Pochettino was dismissed after raising his voice to make a reasonable request about transfers, the relationship with a more volatile De Zerbi would be doomed to fail from the get-go if Chelsea’s hierarchy were unwilling to be more open-minded.

 

3) Ruben Amorim
The Sporting CP boss has consistently been mooted as a potential replacement for Pochettino this season, but he has recently drifted in the betting.

It is unclear whether Amorim’s foolish apparent attempt to pit Liverpool and West Ham against each other for his services has hampered his reputation in the eyes of Premier League clubs, but he does fit the mould of what Chelsea appear to be looking for.

His youthfulness (and his preferred 3-4-3 formation) lends itself to Chelsea but he already has a decent level of experience from his time at Sporting Lisbon and as mentioned above, there are certainly worse options out there for the Blues.

📣TO THE COMMENTS! Who should replace Pochettino at Chelsea? Join the debate here

 

2) Thomas Tuchel
Sacking Pochettino will surely prove to be a huge mistake, but it was not the first error that Boehly and pals have made in the managerial department.

Coming off a shock Champions League win, Tuchel’s stock – even after a sluggish start to the 2022/23 season – remained high, so his sacking was a clear example of new owners throwing their weight around and ridding of figures preferred by the previous regime.

A la Pochettino, it was a needless dismissal which kickstarted a downward spiral as Chelsea descended into being a circus led by Boehly. A portion of their problems would have been evaded if they stuck with Tuchel for a little while longer.

 

1) Mauricio Pochettino
It’s been a weird few months in the managerial world. Several elite European clubs have been searching for new bosses, with the lack of desirable options tempting Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona to hold talks with departing head coaches Tuchel and Xavi over a U-turn.

Boehly is not introspective enough to admit he’s made a mistake, so he won’t run back to Pochettino with his tail between his legs. Yet the recently departed ex-Spurs boss is the perfect manager for Chelsea at this stage of their development and this is what the brash American should do before he’s snapped up by Man Utd.

More: Chelsea | Mauricio Pochettino | Kieran McKenna