Who next for Chelsea after Pochettino's exit?

23 May 2024
Chelsea players post-Bournemouth

After head coach's departure Adrian Kajumba looks at who could be in contention to take charge at Stamford Bridge

Related Articles
Is Guardiola the Premier League's greatest? Vote on who is the best
Pochettino leaves Chelsea by mutual consent
Do stats show Chelsea have performed better than people think?

So what next for Chelsea, who are on the lookout for a new head coach having parted company with Mauricio Pochettino by mutual consent after only one season?

The decision was made on Tuesday despite Pochettino overseeing a noticeable upturn in the second half of the season, which included leading Chelsea to the EFL Cup final and FA Cup semi-final. 

Meanwhile, only the top three - Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool - produced better league form than Chelsea in 2024 as the Blues ended the season with five successive wins to finish sixth in the Premier League and earn a place in Europe next season.

But the decision was taken by both club and Pochettino to part ways, providing another managerial change at Stamford Bridge and the inevitable speculation in UK media as to who will succeed Pochettino. Journalists are saying that the club are hoping to announce the new person in charge next week. 

Here, Adrian Kajumba looks at some of the managers linked by media with the job at Stamford Bridge.

Sebastian Hoeness

If Xabi Alonso has undoubtedly done an outstanding job to beat Germany’s big two to the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart’s Hoeness will not be too far behind.

Hoeness, who ended his playing career aged 27 to focus on coaching, already impressed by saving Stuttgart from relegation after taking over in April 2023.  

But few would have foreseen that he could turn them from a team who needed a relegation playoff win to retain their status to one who have finished above both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund to claim the runners-up spot and a place in the UEFA Champions League. 

Sebastian Hoeness

Stuttgart have finished the season as the German league’s third-highest scorers, with 78, and with the joint-second best defence, having conceded only 39 goals, an indication of how well-rounded a team they are. 

The playing style of Hoeness, now 42, will also be an attraction. His teams adopt a counter-pressing approach with a high line, and generally play a 4-2-3-1 formation that is similar to Pochettino's. 

The Evening Standard says such tactics will put him on Chelsea's shortlist.

Ruben Amorim

Aged 39, Amorim is another of Europe’s highly-rated young coaches at Sporting Lisbon, and The Times says he was under consideration for the job last month. He has a trophy-winning pedigree, having won five pieces of silverware in his four full seasons in charge of Sporting, including two league titles - the club’s first in 19 years - in 2021 and this year.

Ruben Amorin Sporting

He is considered innovative in his methods and familiar Premier League names such as Man City’s Matheus Nunes, Tottenham Hotspur's Pedro Porro and Fulham’s Joao Palhinha will vouch for his man-management skills and ability to improve players.

Amorim also opts for an eye-catching possession-based approach to the game. In his case he favours doing so with a back three, a formation that won Chelsea a league title under Antonio Conte in 2017 and the 2021 Champions League during Thomas Tuchel’s reign. 


Taking the unfancied Girona from the second tier to the Champions League in two years means Michel will attract attention from other clubs, with Chelsea among them, according to The Daily Telegraph

In his first season, in 2021/22, Michel led the Catalan club to promotion to LaLiga via the playoffs and would end the 2022/23 season in 10th.

Girona followed that up this season by earning a place in Europe’s top club competition for the first time, upsetting the established order along the way with some of their results and by finishing above Atletico Madrid in third.

Michel Girona

They even enjoyed spells in top spot during the season ahead of far more illustrious rivals, including eventual champions Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

Michel is a coach who has earned a growing reputation through promotions and his coaching rather than major trophies.

He has also led Rayo Vallecano and Huesca up to Spain’s top division. He was unable to keep those two clubs up on both occasions, but has discovered the secret to safety - and then some - with Girona.

He is another manager who has proven more than happy to work within a club structure. 

Roberto De Zerbi

De Zerbi is now available on the managerial market after leaving Brighton & Hove Albion by mutual consent at the end of the season, having been in charge for almost two years after succeeding former Chelsea manager Graham Potter. Although seen as an unlikely candidate for Chelsea, The Athletic says, a move for De Zerbi cannot be ruled out. 

It was a period during which De Zerbi further enhanced his reputation after a number of previous roles in his native Italy and a spell at Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League

De Zerbi steered Brighton to sixth in his first season and into Europe for the first time ever. They came ninth during 2023/24, a trickier campaign for the Seagulls with the additional demands of European football as well as injuries to key players.

Through the good times and bad, Brighton’s eye-catching passing style of play remained in place.

At times it was high-risk, with his goalkeepers and defenders under instruction to lure teams towards them so they could try and play around, through and over them. But that he successfully implemented it, and quite quickly, was evidence of his coaching qualities.

He has already worked with some of Chelsea's players, including at Shakhtar with Mykhailo Mudryk, who he once tipped to win the Ballon d’Or.

Kieran McKenna

After his remarkable success with Ipswich Town, it is inevitable that the 38-year-old is being linked by media with jobs at established Premier League teams, and The Times says Chelsea are one of those clubs, along with Brighton.

McKenna took charge in December 2021, his first senior managerial job, when Ipswich were 12th in League One.

McKenna has since led the Tractor Boys to successive promotions, taking them on an incredible journey from the third tier to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

They have done so playing an exciting and expansive brand of winning football. McKenna, though, is tactically flexible and more than capable of mixing up his approach when required.

However Ipswich have played, the goals have flowed. They scored 193 goals and won 194 points across their two full campaigns under McKenna as they finished runners-up in League One and then the Championship.

His high potential is underlined not just by his work at Ipswich but his career path too, which includes being promoted into a first-team role from Man Utd’s Under-18s by Jose Mourinho.

Along with being well thought of as a coach, McKenna is also considered a good "people person". 

Thomas Frank

The job Frank has done at Brentford to lead them into the Premier League for the first time in 2021 and then consolidate their position in the top flight with 13th, ninth and 16th-place finishes inevitably has drawn admirers in the world of football. 

thomas frank

The Dane is on a four-man shortlist for the Stamford Bridge job, according to The Daily Telegraph.

One attraction is that he is tactically flexible, having had joy in his time at Brentford with both back-three and back-four formations. 

Frank has the charisma and confidence to be the figurehead of a club, but is also used to fitting into a club structure with recruitment staff and senior executives around him as he has done at Brentford. 

Enzo Maresca

Like McKenna, Maresca is another manager who has made a big impression in the Championship, leading Leicester City back to the Premier League in his first season in charge, and The Guardian says the Italian has his admirers at Chelsea.

Like De Zerbi, Maresca has a clear style of play, having overhauled their tactics. Leicester became one of the second tier’s best passing sides under Maresca.

His approach to the game is influenced by his time as a player in Spain, when he fell in love with the philosophy of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.

He later got to learn about it in a bit more detail during two coaching spells at Man City under Guardiola, with one of those as manager of Man City’s Elite Development Squad.

Latest Videos

More Videos

You have been entered into the competition. You will receive email confirmation of your entry with further details.

You have already entered this competition. Please check your email for further information.

You have been entered into the competition. You will receive email confirmation of your entry with further details.

Create a Premier League account


You are logged in as

Enter your details to submit your entry.