BREAKING NEWS : Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca has emerged as Chelsea’s preferred choice to succeed Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge in a surprising twist


Leicester manager Enzo Maresca has emerged as a surprise candidate to replace Mauricio Pochettino at the helm of Chelsea.

Pochettino left his job at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday after just one year in charge. After struggling at the start of the season, he led the Blues to a sixth-place finish and secured qualification for next season’s Europa League.

But as rumours about his future have intensified in recent weeks, Pochettino has decided by consensus to end his time at Chelsea. The club management is now looking for a new manager.

Pochettino’s backroom staff have also left the Blues, and the Premier League is looking for a coach who leaves the recruitment to his sports managers.

According to The Sun, Maresca has emerged as the leading candidate for the job and Leicester are preparing a contact. Maresca is said to have an £8.5m buyout clause in his contract.

The Italian has been at the Foxes for just one year and has led them to the title. He has won 31 of 46 league games, although he was criticised by some fans in the closing stages of the season.

Maresca previously worked as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City and is a highly respected manager. He may be tempted to leave the King Power Stadium because of Leicester’s financial problems.

The Foxes have been accused of breaking Premier League spending rules for the past three seasons. It is not known when the judgement will be handed down, but the new season could start in a negative way.

Maresca is one of several coaches being linked with a job at Chelsea, with Kieran McKenna and Roberto De Zerbi also among the candidates. The Leicester boss admitted the season since winning the title at the end of April had been difficult.

“It’s been an incredible season, difficult at times, but it’s football and we know that. We are enjoying it and it’s thanks to these guys behind me (players and fans), it’s fantastic. We have reached our goal and we can see that people are happy,” he said.

“We are very happy. It was a good victory and we finished the job. Now we enjoy it and then we will have time to reflect on it. We knew (at the start of the season) that Leicester’s target was promotion, but you know that sometimes strange things happen.

“But you see how difficult this league is. A lot of teams are struggling to stay up, but we have finished in the right way now. We were favourites, but Leeds and Southampton were favourites too. You have to do your job and we did it.”

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