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Mauricio Pochettino is in advanced talks with Chelsea to become manager at Stamford Bridge, replacing interim boss Frank Lampard before the start of next campaign.
Pochettino, 51, has been out of work since leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, but the former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur coach has now emerged as the favored candidate to take charge at Chelsea.
Sources told ESPN that Chelsea’s plan is to let Lampard see out the season and then hand the reins to Pochettino in the summer, adding that the Argentine coach feels the project at Stamford Bridge suits him because he will be able to build a young team that can play his style of football.
Pochettino would arrive following a lengthy process to identify a successor to Graham Potter, who was fired after just seven months in charge on April 3.
Chelsea had drawn up a short list that included as many as seven names to replace Potter, with former Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann and Pochettino regarded as initial favorites of the club’s owners, Clearlake Capital.
Nagelsmann subsequently dropped out of the running, sources told ESPN on Friday, while talks with former Barcelona and Spain coach Luis Enrique did not progress beyond exploratory discussions.
Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim and Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti were also considered by Chelsea, but a source has told ESPN that Pochettino is now in detailed discussions about taking over at the club.
Pochettino was interviewed for the Manchester United manager’s job last season and made the final two before missing out on the post to Erik ten Hag. He was also interviewed by Chelsea following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, whom he succeeded at PSG in January 2021, before missing out to Potter.
Despite Lampard guiding Chelsea to four successive defeats during his reign as interim manager, sources said the club would let him see out the remainder of the current season.
And Pochettino, who took Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019, is now close to becoming the next permanent manager at Stamford Bridge.
Pochettino had also been heavily linked with a return to Tottenham, who are also searching for a manager following the dismissal of Antonio Conte in March and the sacking of his interim successor, Cristian Stellini, on Monday following a 6-1 loss to Newcastle on Sunday.