The Blues fired the shot on Sunday following Aston Villa’s home setback; they now must decide what comes next.
Graham Potter and Chelsea split ways on Sunday, which was an expected action from the Blues after their home loss to Aston Villa on Saturday pushed them into the bottom half of the Premier League standings. Given the difficulties Londoners have faced since the English tactician moved there from Brighton and Hove Albion, the decision was not entirely unexpected, and focus has subsequently shifted to finding a replacement.
Despite the team’s problems in front of goal, many managers will still find the significant investment in a strong group appealing. Several of the top tacticians in Europe might be inspired to stretch themselves next season with a challenge on the horizon.
Tottenham Hotspur is also looking for a new manager, so there will be a fascinating competition between the two teams to choose the most well-known candidate. But, given where Chelsea was less than two years ago under incoming Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel, the challenge facing Potter’s successor at Stamford Bridge cannot be understated.
We examine the prominent names.
1. Julian Nagelsmann
The German strategist is a popular name on the managing market following his sacking from Bayern, and Spurs are also apparently interested. The 35-year-old, however, was not in a haste to begin negotiations with Tottenham to succeed Antonio Conte, and they are better positioned to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. Lack of a clear strategy may also make it difficult for Chelsea to recruit great tacticians at this time, especially one who has recently left a venerable European soccer powerhouse like Bayern. An ambitious boss with more experience might be a better fit.
12 Premier League managers have been let go this season. 😅 pic.twitter.com/jaPNI718GW
2. Mauricio Pochettino
Enter the Argentine, who left the game after one season with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2022. Pochettino, 51, has long been linked to a return to Tottenham, but Chelsea’s unexpected availability may alter those plans, especially because the South American was a candidate for the position before Potter was hired. It would be an issue if there is no European soccer for the upcoming season, but Pochettino has been waiting for a proper Premier League opportunity, and now there are two.
3. Luis Enrique
The Spaniard, who served as his nation’s captain at the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, has made no secret of his desire to get back to regular coaching. When questioned before the Chelsea position became available, Enrique, 52, said he could not see himself taking the Spurs position but has since hinted that he would try his luck in England. A manager who has been planning their comeback to the game for some time might be more prepared than Enrique, who has only been out of his most recent role for a few months.
4. Zinedine Zidane
The Frenchman who will no longer be in command of Les Bleus anytime soon is another well-known name that is now accessible. The 50-year-old Zidane has been linked with a third stint at Real Madrid as well as his former club Juventus and Manchester United before Erik ten Hag. Now that the door to the French national team is closed, moving to England is doubtful but not impossible. Zidane could choose to revive Chelsea’s fortunes with a younger squad full of potential rather than the bunch he might inherit should he replace Brazil target Carlo Ancelotti.
Graham Potter’s magic ran out quick. 😬 pic.twitter.com/WXsttLDZaj
5. Roberto De Zerbi
As Potter switched from the Seagulls to the Blues earlier this season, Brighton and Hove Albion to Chelsea is starting to resemble something of a trail. Brighton, on the other hand, has kept up their impressive play under the Italian manager while the Londoners did not improve. De Zerbi, 43, is thought to have a clause in his contract that allows clubs to move for him beginning this summer; this could be taken into account when considering Potter’s replacement options. Chelsea may be leery of repeating the same error given how costly the previous move was and how the Englishman struggled to translate his accomplishments to a larger platform. But, Tottenham Hotspur, who are looking to replace Antonio Conte and perhaps make the most of his collected personnel unit, might not necessarily agree with that.
6. Thomas Frank and Marco Silva
Both Frank’s Brentford and Silva’s Fulham are in the top half of the Premier League standings, demonstrating the excellent work these two are doing with their respective teams. But, both of them should be viewed as outsiders, and Chelsea would have to take a similar risk with them as it did with Potter, which would work against them. Expect the Blues to choose a more experienced player in the long run, and don’t rule out waiting until the end of the season before making a choice.
7. Antonio Conte, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Brendan Rodgers
In one way or another, each of these might be future Stamford Bridge returnees. Although Rodgers has worked for Chelsea in the past and recently departed Leicester City, he has never been the club’s senior manager. Conte is now available after leaving for Tottenham, and Ancelotti is facing some pressure in Madrid. Although he has previously managed the London club twice and is currently the manager of AS Roma, Jose Mourinho is unlikely to be towards the top of this list because none of the other four candidates are considered favorites.