Chelsea hire Enzo Maresca as new manager: what you need to know about the former Leicester City boss

Chelsea hired manager Enzo Maresca on a five-year deal on Monday, choosing the former Leicester City coach to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge after his surprise departure.

The 44-year-old's contract also includes an option for a further year, possibly indicating Chelsea are making long-term plans with Maresca after rapid negotiations between Chelsea and Leicester, which gave the Blues the green light to deal with Maresca on Monday to talk. according to The Athletic. The two clubs also quickly agreed on compensation for the manager, who was previously under contract with Leicester until 2026. The process to find Pochettino's replacement is being led by co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, who were also responsible for the Argentine's retirement last month.

Maresca emerged as a serious contender for the Chelsea job after leading Leicester to top spot in the Championship and securing promotion to the Premier League in his first season in the job. He favors a possession-based, attack-oriented style of play which has led to the Foxes scoring 89 goals in the league, second only to second-placed Ipswich Town.

That was the Italians' first full season in charge of a team, with his only managerial spell being a six-month spell as manager of Parma in 2021. Maresca has been Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City in between and was part of their treble season. won the 2022-2023 season and was previously also a youth coach at the club.

Maresca will beat the likes of Brentford's Thomas Frank and Ipswich's Kieran McKenna for this performance, as Chelsea focus their efforts on an emerging manager rather than someone with experience at the highest levels of football.

McKenna was perhaps the leading contender once Pochettino's departure was confirmed. His stock was high after guiding Ipswich to back-to-back promotions and a place in next season's Premier League. He has also been linked with vacancies at Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United, but will reportedly sign a new long-term deal at Ipswich. according to The Athletic.

It is unclear what Maresca's expectations are at Chelsea as he is a fairly inexperienced manager and is in charge of a team that could be seriously affected by their financial situation. CBS Sports reported this in March the club could record losses of £210 million over the past three years, double the Premier League limit according to their profit and sustainability rules. The club has until June 30 to take stock and could face stiff penalties if they fail to do so, something the Premier League has not hesitated to do in recent months. During the 2023/24 season, both Everton and Nottingham Forest suffered point penalties and fines, something they had to overcome to survive relegation.

Maresca will also have the tough task of following up Pochettino's only season at Chelsea. It was turbulent at times, with uneven performances, some poor results and injuries to several key players, but the former Tottenham Hotspur manager managed to steady the ship around halfway through the season. Pochettino guided them to a sixth-place finish, which offered some optimism about the progress they could make next season. However, he left the club by mutual consent, meaning Chelsea's new leadership group is once again looking for a manager just two years after taking over the club.

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