Chelsea 'to appoint new manager in next 48 hours' as shortlist trimmed to three

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly will appoint a new manager in the coming days. (Image: Getty)

Chelsea are reportedly set to appoint a new head coach before Wednesday as they close in on a replacement for Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine boss parted ways with the Blues after just one season in charge last week, with Todd Boehly and co tasked once again with finding a new leading man.

Club insider Ben Jacobs claimed that Chelsea expect to have a new head coach in place within the next 24-48 hours on Sunday night, with ex-Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi instilled as the favourite to take over after being initially named on a four-man shortlist.

The Italian was joined by Kieran McKenna, Thomas Frank and Enzo Maresca. But the Ipswich head coach, who secured back-to-back promotions to the Premier League, is no longer being considered for the position according to Sky Sports News.

Chelsea have identified the need for a young, progressive coach to work with an inexperienced but expensively assembled squad, which Pochettino enjoyed a strong end to the season with as he secured a sixth-placed finish and Europa Conference League football.

But McKenna is not seen as the chosen candidate to replace Pochettino, amid rival interest also from Brighton and Manchester United. He is contracted to Ipswich until 2027 but is reportedly set to turn down any offer of a new contract, with the 38-year-old and assistant Martyn Pert prepared to move on from Portman Road.

Any club will need to pay in the region of £4million compensation for both McKenna and Pert, but Chelsea are looking elsewhere and will dwindle their options of Maresca, Frank and De Zerbi down to one in the coming days.

Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna has been ruled out of the running to take over at Chelsea. (Image: Getty)

All three are viewed internally as progressive options due to their dynamic style of football and experience in the English top flight. The new head coach would likely sign a contract longer than Pochettino’s initial two-year deal, signalling an intent that the Clearlake hierarchy want to back the incoming manager.

Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart are said to have drawn up the final list of recommended candidates, but the decision will lie with co-owners Boehly and Behdad Eghbali.

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Senior figures at Stamford Bridge have been impressed with the job that Frank has done at Brentford, but more possession-based football would likely arrive with Leicester boss Maresca and De Zerbi, though the former has no experience of a top job in the Premier League.

It promises to be a busy few days at Chelsea, however, with the club keen to get a Pochettino successor in place quickly to press ahead with plans for another overhaul in the summer transfer market before next season.