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Chelsea consider Roberto De Zerbi as manager search heats up

Chelsea are keeping their options open in their search for a new head coach and recently dismissed Brighton & Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi has not been ruled out, per The Telegraph.

The Blues are currently evaluating Enzo Maresca (Leicester City), Kieran McKenna (Ipswich Town), and Thomas Frank (Brentford) as potential successors to Mauricio Pochettino. 

While these three have been confirmed as the main candidates, the club is reportedly still keeping an eye on De Zerbi.

De Zerbi is a free agent after leaving Brighton by mutual consent and is a potentially cheaper option compared to the trio above, who are currently employed. 

Maresca’s reported release clause is around £10 million, double that of McKenna, while Frank’s buyout increased to over £3 million with his recent contract extension.

However, his reported difficulty working within a club structure might be a concern for Chelsea, with sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart keen on a manager who will fall in line.

Despite this potential hurdle, De Zerbi’s exciting brand of possession-based football aligns with Chelsea’s philosophy. He successfully guided Brighton to Europe in his first season and managed an 11th-place finish this year despite losing the core of his team.

The race for the Chelsea hot seat remains wide open, with no clear favourite at this point. 

The club is expected to intensify discussions with candidates this weekend, aiming to finalise an appointment by early June.

All three confirmed contenders have their own connections within Chelsea. Chelsea recruitment chief Joe Shields previously worked with Maresca at Manchester City. 

McKenna has been under Chelsea’s radar for some time, while Frank’s set-piece specialist Bernardo Cueva is already joining the Blues.

De Zerbi also has some familiar faces at Stamford Bridge, including Sam Jewell (Global Recruitment Director – former Brighton colleague), 

He managed Mykhailo Mudryk at Shakhtar Donetsk and Moises Caicedo at Brighton.

Interestingly, McKenna is also a target for Brighton, and could be considered by Manchester United alongside Frank as a potential replacement for Erik ten Hag.

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