Romano confirms Maresca ‘will be the new Chelsea manager’ as McKenna ‘call’ is revealed

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

Chelsea will make Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca their new manager “unless something crazy happens in the next 48 hours”, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

The Blues made the decision to part ways with Mauricio Pochettino last week in a shock decision following a promising end to the campaign for Chelsea.

Pochettino, who led Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2019, ended his spell in charge of Chelsea with five successive league wins, earning a Europa Conference League place for next season.

That is an improvement of six places from their 12th-placed finish the season before, with Chelsea earning 19 more points under Pochettino.

Speculation has been rife over the identity of their potential new boss with Leicester City’s Maresca now seemingly the top candidate to replace the Argentinian at Stamford Bridge.

And now Romano insists that Chelsea will appoint Maresca – who got the Foxes promoted from the Championship at the first time of asking – unless “something crazy happens” and that the Italian “believes in the project” at the Premier League club.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Enzo Maresca will be the new Chelsea manager – unless something crazy happens in the next 48 hours. It will be a ‘here we go’ soon because the latest contacts between Maresca and Chelsea were super positive.

“Maresca wants to go to Chelsea and never had any doubts despite some reports suggesting that maybe he wants to stay at Leicester. Although he loves and respects Leicester, it’s been very clear ever since Chelsea entered this story that Maresca wants to be the next Chelsea manager.

“Maresca believes in the Chelsea project around young players with a big future, he thinks it is a really exciting project. Meanwhile, Chelsea are convinced he’s a super talented coach and that’s why he’s a name appreciated by both directors and owners, all convinced he can be the man for present and future.

“Maresca’s obsession with ball possession, quality football, dominating the game, his knowledge of elite football despite being a young manager – all of this made the difference for Chelsea to pick him.

“Talks are now really at the final stages, and it’s expected to happen soon. The salary is agreed and it’s just about the length of the contract. The feeling is that it could be a five-year contract, longer than they initially thought, and they are just discussing this final detail, but the feeling is that they are almost there.

“What’s missing is just an agreement between Chelsea and Leicester on compensation, also for Maresca’s staff, but it’s just a matter of days or maybe even hours and then everything will be done for Maresca to become the new Chelsea manager.

“So, that will be ‘here we go’ soon and then it will continue to be a busy summer at Chelsea. It won’t be completely crazy but they will try to make smart things happen, including a new goalkeeper and I expect them to try for at least one new centre-back, but it could be two. I also expect Chelsea to be busy with the striker position, and I mentioned many times Benjamin Sesko, who is highly rated at Chelsea but also by others like Arsenal and Manchester United.”

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Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna was linked with the Chelsea job before committing his future to the Tractor Boys.

And now Romano has revealed that Chelsea “called” McKenna regarding the vacant manager role and informed him he was “no longer in the race”.

Romano added: “It’s important to clarify another big story on managers as Chelsea called Kieran McKenna to inform him that he was no longer in the race to become their manager. He also had the possibility to go to Brighton but they wanted an answer early this week, while he also had the possibility to wait and see what happened at Manchester United, with the club still reviewing and discussing internally what to do about Erik ten Hag.

“But now, McKenna has decided to commit his future to Ipswich Town. He’s going to extend his contract – everything is almost ready for him to sign a new deal, which will be an important one with big money involved. So, there are no fresh contacts with Chelsea because he’s been informed he’s no longer in the race, and he will stay at Ipswich.

“Credits to Ipswich Town on this one – they’ve been waiting and hoping, offering him an important contract. McKenna has decided to accept after Chelsea told him with direct call that he was out of the shortlist to become the new manager. For Brighton, a decision will be made soon on an alternative to become their next manager.”

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