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Chelsea: Thomas Frank, Enzo Maresca and Roberto De Zerbi leading candidates for head coach role with Kieran McKenna out of running

Chelsea believe Thomas Frank, Enzo Maresca and Roberto De Zerbi all have the right attributes to replace Mauricio Pochettino; Frank is admired for the job he has done at Brentford, Maresca for his playing style at Leicester

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Nicolas Jackson, Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer gave their reaction to the news that Mauricio Pochettino was leaving Chelsea

Kieran McKenna is no longer being considered to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea, with three now left in the race and an appointment expected this week.

The leading candidates are Thomas Frank, Enzo Maresca and Roberto De Zerbi.

All three men are seen as having the right attributes for the job. The list reflects a desire to appoint a dynamic, forward thinking and progressive coach who fits in with the club's ideology and who has experience of coaching in English football at a high level.

Chelsea had originally included Ipswich Town boss McKenna on their shortlist, but decided on Sunday they would not be taking their interest in the 38-year-old any further, and rang him to inform him of their decision that evening.

Frank is admired for the job he has done at Brentford, while Leicester manager Maresca appeals particularly because of his style of play, and, like Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, he worked with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

The new Chelsea head coach will sign a contract which will be longer than the two-year deal Pochettino accepted last summer.

Chelsea co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart have been working on drawing up the final shortlist of recommended candidates.

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The final decision on the new head coach will be made by the Chelsea ownership group, which includes co-owners Behdad Eghbali and Todd Boehly.

"I think we should expect a decision this week," said Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol. "Chelsea want this sorted out by the start of June. Progress is being made, the shortlist is being whittled down.

"Behdad Eghbali, the co-owner, has been in London for a long time and was at the FA Cup final on Saturday. He's due to leave London pretty soon, but I expect a decision this week."

Pochettino beat Arne Slot and Vincent Kompany to the job last summer. The three men were on the final shortlist and Ange Postecoglou was also a leading candidate.

Senior Chelsea figures believe the new head coach will be the final piece of the jigsaw to fit into the new modern structure they have built at the club.

Chelsea expect to be busy in the transfer market this summer with players coming and going. Trading is likely to see the signing of a new No 9 and centre-back, while the futures of high-earners such as Romelu Lukaku and Kepa Arrizabalaga need to be resolved.


Although Chelsea have to comply with the Premier League's financial regulations, they are not under pressure to sell homegrown players such as Conor Gallagher and Reece James before the end of June.

Chelsea are close to completing a deal worth up to £42m to sign Estevao Willian from Palmeiras. Chelsea will pay an initial £30m and £12m in potential add-ons for the winger who will move to Stamford Bridge after he turns 18 next year.

Three left in running as McKenna is dropped from list

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

"It was Chelsea's decision [on McKenna]. He was on a final four-man shortlist, but Chelsea decided on Sunday he would not be the next head coach.

"He was contacted and told they would not be taking it any further. They like and respect him, and everything he's achieved at Ipswich, but this is a process where they believe he's not the right man at this moment in time.

"Of the three left, De Zerbi, Maresca and Frank, a lot of Chelsea fans would pick De Zerbi. He's been the outsider, but over the last few days the conversations I've had, people have been saying don't rule him out.

"There has been contact, he's left Brighton, some compensation would need to be paid of around £5m. There's some concerns about the way he left, his relationship with the people above him has not always been harmonious.

"There's also some concern I think about the size of the backroom staff he would want to bring with him. If that can be sorted out, I think he has a good chance of becoming the next Chelsea head coach.

"Maresca, Chelsea have been very impressed with what he achieved at Leicester. He's never managed in the Premier League, but he's worked under Pep Guardiola and plays Pep-style football. Look at Mikel Arteta, he'd never managed in the Premier League either but he had worked under Pep and look what he's achieved at Arsenal.

"Maresca would also be comfortable working in the structure that Chelsea have set up. He has had some issues at Leicester, with concerns over financial fair play, they have been under a transfer embargo under the EFL and charged by the Premier League.

"So would he have any issues going in with the people above him? I don't think so, because at Chelsea he would have an incredible squad. Chelsea think they have the third-best squad in the Premier League. He wouldn't have any issues complaining about recruitment, or the players he wanted.

"The final one, the one I find really interesting, is Thomas Frank. Some Chelsea fans are asking what he's achieved at Brentford, whether his style is the possession-style football they want.

"I think he's a really impressive character, he's a very impressive coach who's done a fantastic job. He's established Brentford as a Premier League side - he's not won a trophy, but do you honestly expect them to? And he's happy to work in the structure at Brentford, which is very similar to the one at Chelsea.

What's next for Poch?

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Gary O'Neil and Rob Edwards were among the managers to react to the news Pochettino had left Chelsea

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

"Mauricio Pochettino is raring to go again after leaving Chelsea. His departure from Stamford Bridge was amicable. It just didn't work out. Finishing sixth isn't good enough for the owners. They don't just want to finish top four, but they want to be competition regularly for the Premier League title.

"I don't think he really bought into what the Chelsea owners wanted to do. He wants to work again but it's too early to talk about any specific jobs as it will be an interesting summer for out-of-work managers.

"He likes living and working in England, so, depending on the terms of his departure from Chelsea, it would be no surprise to see him back at work in the Premier League at some point in the future.

"Chelsea believe they are a Champions League club. For a variety of reasons, they've not met that target. There are no hard feelings between the owners and Pochettino, the players like him, and fans like him too.

"It's a job that takes time. Chelsea managers don't get a lot of time and it seems like history is repeating itself under the new ownership."

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