Chelsea close in on appointment of Leicester’s Enzo Maresca as manager

Italian has a release clause of about £10m in his contract

Chelsea are closing in on the appointment of Enzo Maresca after the club requested permission to speak to the Leicester manager.

Maresca, who has guided Leicester back into the Premier League, is emerging as the leading candidate to take over from Mauricio Pochettino. Ipswich’s Kieran McKenna has ruled himself out of the running and senior sources have played down Chelsea’s interest in Roberto De Zerbi, who left Brighton by mutual consent.

Chelsea have also spoken to Thomas Frank, the Brentford manager. They want a manager who is focused on possession football and there is support for Maresca from senior figures. Chelsea would need to pay about £10m (€11.7m) in compensation to Leicester to land the 44-year-old.

Maresca has a release clause of around £10m in his contract with Leicester, so Chelsea could land the Italian without having to negotiate by simply paying that amount to the Midlands club. However, there are no guarantees that Maresca would take the job as he is happy at Leicester. He could decide to stay if the conditions at Chelsea are not right for him.

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Maresca has been at the club for only a season and his stock is high after guiding them to the Championship title. Leicester, though, are expected to be docked points before next season for financial fair play breaches and their transfer budget is unlikely to be big.

McKenna, who led Ipswich into the top flight as runners-up to Leicester, remains a target for Manchester United and Brighton. He was one of Chelsea’s top choices. Chelsea are not considering Sporting Lisbon’s Rúben Amorim at this time. – Guardian