02 April 2023

5 contenders to replace Graham Potter as Chelsea head coach

02 April 2023

Chelsea are seeking a new manager following the departure of Graham Potter.

Here, PA Sport looks at who could be in contention for the role.

Julian Nagelsmann 

Tottenham target Julian Nagelsmann is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Potter. The former Bayern Munich boss led his side to the Bundesliga title in his first season after joining in the summer of 2021, also winning the German Super Cup in 2021 and 2022 before he was sacked and replaced by former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel late last month. At just 35, the German is several years younger than some members of the Blues squad he would inherit, but the hotly-touted managerial talent’s age does not seem to be an issue for either Premier League side rumoured to be vying for his services.

Mauricio Pochettino

The Argentinian has been out of work since leaving Paris St Germain, where he won last season’s Ligue 1 title, and his availability coupled with a record of success in the Premier League naturally places him near the top of the contenders list. If Potter ultimately proved unable to rise to the massive challenge of marshalling some of the world’s biggest stars, the appointment of Pochettino – who has counted Lionel Messi amongst his charges – would carry no such risk.

Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers parted ways with Leicester following Saturday’s disappointing defeat at Crystal Palace but his history at Chelsea could make him an outside shot for the job. While the Foxes are now fighting relegation, the Northern Irish manager previously masterminded Leicester to two credible Champions League challenges, not to mention taking Liverpool to within a whisker of the title in 2013-14, meaning he qualifies as a coach of calibre. He spent four years heading up Chelsea’s youth set-up before moving into management, and knows how to get the best out of senior players.

Zinedine Zidane

The former Real Madrid boss spoke as recently as last September about how his lack of fluency in English made him apprehensive about taking a Premier League job, but with his outstanding record both domestically and in Europe with Real, Chelsea will likely dig deep to come up with something mouth-watering if they believe he could be tempted. The 50-year-old has spent nearly two years out of the game since his second spell at the LaLiga giants, a long time for a manager of his pedigree and hunger.

Ruben Amorim

Tottenham fans will attest to what a wily operator the Sporting Lisbon coach is, with Amorim’s team taking four Champions League points off them this season and beating them 2-0 with a whirlwind performance in Lisbon last September. The 38-year-old is yet to truly announce himself as a rising star, and after the Potter experiment the Chelsea board may not be ready to take another punt on potential. Yet his tactical nous and – maybe just as important after Potter – passion, make him undoubtedly a coach worthy of a grander stage than Portugal’s Primeira Liga.

Jose Mourinho

Is it really so unthinkable? With such a huge turnover of senior personnel and a sense of self that has grown disparate, there might be some logic to bringing back the man who has managed Chelsea in more games than any other this century. Not withstanding his record of three Premier League titles and obvious affection for the club and its fans, ‘new Chelsea’ are in desperate need of a personality who knows exactly what the old one was all about. He recently tasted European success after guiding Roma to Conference League glory last June, and with Roman Abramovich – who sacked Mourinho not once but twice – gone, there would be a clean slate of sorts from which to work. Stranger things have happened.

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