Chelsea could target Kieran McKenna as Mauricio Pochettino leaves by mutual consent

Brighton are also keen on appointing the Ipswich Town manager who has led the club back to the Premier League

Chelsea are prepared to rival Brighton for the appointment of Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna after reaching an agreement to part company with Mauricio Pochettino by mutual consent.

Pochettino, who led the club to sixth after a strong end to his only season in charge, has left after holding talks with the co-sporting directors, Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, and the co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali over the course of two days.

It is understood that the split is down to a difference of opinion between the Argentinian and Chelsea over strategy. Pochettino, who was hired on a two-year deal last summer, was frustrated in his attempts to be given more power and it was decided that it was better to bring an end to the relationship rather than risk the possibility of a major fallout next season.

Although there was support for Pochettino at board level it was not unanimous, with Eghbali understood to have been lukewarm regarding the former Tottenham manager.


Chelsea have attempted to work in a “collaborative” way since being bought by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital two years ago and they will look for a young, progressive coach willing to buy into their way of working.

McKenna, who inspired Ipswich’s astonishing promotion to the Premier League, has emerged as one of the leading contenders. Brighton want the 38-year-old Fermanagh man to replace Roberto De Zerbi but Chelsea have been speaking to his representatives for a number of weeks. It is understood that Chelsea’s interest has slowed Brighton’s attempts to seal a deal for McKenna.

Other names under consideration include Brentford’s Thomas Frank, Girona’s Míchel and Stuttgart’s Sebastian Hoeness. Vincent Kompany has been described as a dark horse despite Burnley’s relegation from the Premier League. There are concerns that Sporting Lisbon’s Rúben Amorim does not fit the squad’s tactical profile, and interest in De Zerbi has cooled.

Stewart and Winstanley said: ‘On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season. He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career.’

Pochettino said: “Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and sporting directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club’s history. The club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come.”

Pochettino’s backroom staff members Jesús Pérez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jiménez and Sebastiano Pochettino have also left.

The development leaves Chelsea looking for their fourth permanent manager in the past two years. It had seemed that Pochettino had ushered in some stability, with his young squad largely behind him. Chelsea secured European football after a fine end to the season.

But Chelsea had concerns over Pochettino’s tactics and one well-placed source privately described his training methods as “antiquated” before the end-of-season review. Pochettino was not going to be given more control over signings. – Guardian