Manager in talks with Chelsea reveals true ‘focus’ as Brighton, Blues receive blow

Jason Soutar
Kieran McKenna discusses reported Chelsea, Brighton interest
Kieran McKenna discusses reported Chelsea, Brighton interest

Kieran McKenna says his “focus” is on managing Ipswich Town in the Premier League and not on rumours linking him with Chelsea and Brighton.

The Ipswich boss has emerged as one of the frontrunners to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea, following the Argentine’s dismissal this week.

It has been reported that McKenna has been in dialogue with the Blues for weeks, which has halted Brighton’s pursuit.

The Seagulls are also looking for a new manager after Roberto De Zerbi decided to leave at the end of 2023/24.

Interest in McKenna comes after he guided Ipswich Town back to the Premier League via consecutive promotions from League One and the Championship.

This incredible achievement saw the 38-year-old recognised at this week’s LMA awards, winning manager of the year.

Twenty-two years on from Ipswich’s last season in the top flight, there are doubts over whether McKenna will be in charge come the start of 2024/25.

McKenna responds to Chelsea, Brighton links

He was unsurprisingly asked about his future at Portman Road, insisting that he is fully focused on his current club.

“Look, the club has had such a positive season and has such a positive future ahead,” McKenna told said.

“We’ve achieved so much, it’s been an incredible two years. When you have success like that there always comes speculation and things like that, we’ve seen that every summer.

“But I know how much everyone is looking forward to the season, the club is in a fantastic path and everyone is just really looking forward to the season ahead.

“I know what we’ve achieved isn’t a normal thing so there’s always going to be speculation. But that’s not where my focus is… tonight is about what we’ve achieved over the last couple of seasons.

“It’s been a wonderful couple of years so tonight is about celebrating that. I know everyone is looking forward to next season and I know the club is going to be in a really good place going into that season.”

Roberto De Zerbi to Chelsea?

McKenna is clearly being considered by Chelsea, who are targeting a young, progressive coach to replace Pochettino.

The current favourite for the job, according to the bookies, is De Zerbi, who has revealed he is departing Brighton without a new job being lined up.

“For sure, if I have to stay at home three, four, five months, it should be not a problem because I will work,” he said.

“I will work studying different games, different teams, the style of different coaches.

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“Football is in development, every year it is different and you have to keep the level if you want to stay at the top.

“Without football, it’s not so easy for me but I will smoke more cigarettes! I hope to find the solution before the season starts. But at the moment, there isn’t any team.

“Yes, I hope to work but otherwise I will watch 100 games per week, more or less, waiting for the next chance, the next solution.”

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