Chelsea agree deal for Mauricio Pochettino to become manager
Chelsea have reached an agreement to appoint former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino as their manager, Sky Sports, The Athletic and the BBC reported on Sunday.
Pochettino will take charge of the club at the end of the season, the reports said, succeeding Frank Lampard, who took over as interim manager at Stamford Bridge in April following the sacking of Graham Potter.
Chelsea have lost six of their eight matches in all competitions under Lampard, leaving them 11th in the English Premier League standings and without European football for next season after their quarter-final exit from the Champions League. This despite spending over £600 million (S$999.7 million) on transfers this season.
The London club won the Champions League in 2021, but will end this season without any silverware and are stumbling towards their worst campaign since 1993-94, when they finished 14th under Glenn Hoddle despite their new American owners’ huge outlay on players.
The Daily Mail reported on Sunday that Chelsea’s owners have conceded they may have made a mistake in sacking Champions League-winning manager Thomas Tuchel last September, with his successor Potter only lasting seven months. Tuchel is now coach of Bayern Munich.
The British tabloid said: “Though the relationship with Tuchel was never going to work long term, in retrospect, it is accepted that it might have been better to retain the German coach for a season for a more orderly transition.”
Pochettino, who favours a high-pressing and attacking style of play, will be tasked with reviving Chelsea’s fortunes.
The 51-year-old Argentinian garnered a reputation for fostering young talent and led Southampton to an eighth-placed finish in his first full season in England before joining Spurs in 2014.
Under Pochettino, Tottenham reached the 2019 Champions League final and became Premier League title contenders as they finished in the top four for four straight seasons from 2015-19 before he was fired.
Pochettino joined PSG in January 2021, winning a French Cup and a Ligue 1 title, but he was sacked after failing to deliver in the Champions League.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville told Sky Sports: “Based on what (Chelsea co-owner Todd) Boehly has said, Chelsea have done their spending for the next three years – apart from signing a centre-forward.
“If they appoint Zinedine Zidane, Luis Enrique or Diego Simeone, they’re going to want to have another £300m as they won’t like some of the players they’ve previously signed.
“They’ve got to appoint a manager who is going to inherit and like the squad that they’ve got – a lot of them are young – and that man is Mauricio Pochettino.”
Reuters has contacted Chelsea for comment.
Chelsea travel to Manchester City and Manchester United, before hosting Newcastle United in their final game of the season.
The Blues on Saturday drew 2-2 with relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest. Said Lampard: “You need to be killers at the top end of the pitch. Right now, we don’t have enough of that.” REUTERS