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After Losing 1 in 15, Chelsea is PARTING WAYS with Pochettino

5 minute read Published May 23, 2024

The season started poorly for Chelsea. They’d spent over €1 BILLION on transfers over two summers and now the team wasn’t performing. Big surprise right? In the team sport of football, Chelsea had a squad that had been built over just a season. And it couldn’t compete with excellent sides that had been playing together for many years.

Of course, not a surprise. It’s also a young squad. For example, the attacking responsibility and leadership fell to then 21-year old Cole Palmer. 

But then, at the hand of Mauricio Pochettino, things started to turn around. As the squad played more together, they started playing better. Eventually, they started playing really well. In the last 15 games of the season, Chelsea only lost one game. Against runner-up Arsenal. They won their last five games and eventually qualified for the Europa League.

Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Shutterstock

Things were looking up. Cole, who’d gotten the big responsibility up top was considered one of the best players of the season. Players who’d been hopelessly criticised were now hailed for their form, like Madueke and Mudryk. And the players all loved Pochettino. He was obviously doing something right.

Yesterday, he and Chelsea parted ways. What happened?

A Leopard Doesn't Change its Spots 

Chelsea has a history of being quick to change managers. It was par for the course for the entire tenure of Abramovich at the club. When the new owners came in, you’d be forgiven for thinking it would be different. It seems like the trigger happy culture is a hard one to change. 

If anything, the manager turnover has increased since Todd Boehly bought the club in May of 2022. They’ve already hired and let go of five managers (six if you count interim Bruno Saltor). 

Todd Boehly. Photo: Eric van den Brulle - Photographer shared filed, CC BY-SA 3.0

And maybe they’re too quick. Maybe Tuchel shouldn’t have been fired back in 2022. Boehly was new at his post and rather than watch and learn he decided to mark his territory and sack the German. Pochettino was the first to bring a sense of stability to the managerial position. And now he’s been sacked too. Why?

Lack of Influence?

No official reason has been given for this decision. Nor have there really been any rumblings in the time leading up to it. Speculation is that there’s a disagreement around the club's transfer policy.

The big turnover in players in the last two seasons meant a lot of time was lost trying to get all of these new players to play as a team. This summer, Chelsea are rumoured to be selling some of the academy products (academy products are more valuable financially). Gallagher and Chalobah look set to be leaving. Both have been an important part of the team this season. Both are players any manager would be very keen to keep.

If you look very thoroughly, there was a situation around the new year where Pochettino was asked in a press conference about bringing in a set-piece specialist and in no uncertain terms said no. A set-piece specialist was brought in in February. 

Both the transfer policy and the coaching staff are examples of situations where Pochettino didn’t have influence over decisions that are often, at least partly, influenced by the manager.

Who’s Next?

So, with Pochettino leaving, they’ll need a replacement. Who could it be? There are a lot of big clubs looking for a new manager this summer. Bayern and Barcelona have parted ways with Tuchel and Xavi respectively. Ten Hag is hanging loose at Manchester United, so is Pioli at AC Milan. So there’ll be competition. At this point, it seems like Bayern at least have struck out with a lot of their priority signings and Chelsea might not face their competition.

De Zerbi just left Brighton, and we know they’re basically Chelsea’s B-team at this point. He could be a candidate. However, he just left Brighton for the same reasons that Pochettino is speculated to have left Chelsea for. A lack of influence on the transfer policy. So, why would he move onto the same situation? For the paycheck? Maybe.

There are a few managers that have broken through this season. Alonso has already committed his future to Leverkusen, at least for the next season. Michel and Hoeness have taken underdogs Girona and Stuttgart, respectively, to the Champions League. That could be something.

Then there are a few managers that have made a splash in England this season, specifically McKenna at Ipswich and Thomas Frank at Brentford. Chelsea are said to be looking for an up and coming manager. Someone who plays a modern brand of football. They could be a good fit.

Pochettino’s Future

Well, as discussed, a lot of teams are looking for a new manager. Even if he had a rough start to his time at Chelsea, the Argentinian’s reputation is still intact. He’ll be considered for the biggest jobs in football. Any of those clubs could be destinations, Barcelona, Bayern, Milan or Manchester United.

At Bayern Munich he’d be reunited with a few players from Tottenham, Kane and Dier. So far though, Bayern have had a tough time attracting any managers to the job. Kompany is even rumoured to be a candidate at this point. Maybe there’s a reason the best managers are staying away and maybe Pochettino should too.

There have been rumours about Pochettino to Manchester United before. Their new owner really wanted Pochettino at OGC Nice after he was let go from PSG.

Either way, it’ll be an interesting summer for managers, let’s see what happens!

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