Chelsea football club has appointed former Tottenham boss, Mauricio Pochettino, as the new head coach on a two-year deal, with the option of a further year, starting from July 1, 2023.
The 51-year-old Argentine, who returns to the Premier League following previous spells in charge of Tottenham and Southampton, permanently succeeds Graham Potter, who was dismissed at the start of April this year after less than seven months in charge.
Frank Lampard, the former Chelsea player who led Chelsea on a caretaker basis until the end of the season following Potter’s sacking, has left the club.
Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jimenez and Sebastiano Pochettino, will form part of Pochettino’s coaching staff at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, while announcing the news, said, “Mauricio’s experience, standards of excellence, leadership qualities and character will serve Chelsea Football Club well as we move forward”.
“He is a winning coach, who has worked at the highest levels, in multiple leagues and languages. His ethos, tactical approach and commitment to development all made him the exceptional candidate.”
Owners of Chelsea football club, Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali, Jose E. Feliciano, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss also added saying, “The sporting team conducted a diligent and thoughtful process that the board is proud of. We are delighted that Mauricio will be joining Chelsea. Mauricio is a world-class coach with an outstanding track record. We are all looking forward to having him on board.”
Pochettino was the unanimous first choice of the board and the club. The club carried out an exhaustive process – but wanted to speak to the former Tottenham boss from the outset. In all discussions, it is believed Pochettino was fully on board with the structure of the club, including working with co-sporting directors Stewart and Winstanley.
Despite spending £600m in the last two transfer windows, Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League – the first time they finished in the bottom half for 27 years. The Blues ended the season without a trophy and will not play in Europe next season.
Pochettino had been out of work since being sacked by Paris Saint-Germain last summer after 18 months in charge of the French side, having guided them to the Ligue 1 title in 2022 and the French Cup the year before.
The former Espanyol boss managed Spurs for five years from May 2014, following an 18-month spell at Southampton. Pochettino was unable to end Spurs’ long wait for a trophy but he did lead them to the 2019 Champions League final, which they lost to Liverpool.
Pochettino also took Spurs to the 2015 League Cup final and to a second-place finish in the 2016/17 Premier League season, with Chelsea winning both competitions.
The Right Man to Take the Job
Pundit Gary Neville feels Pochettino is the right man to take charge on a permanent basis at Stamford Bridge given the profile of players Chelsea have signed.
“Based on what [Chelsea co-owner Todd] Boehly has said, Chelsea have done their spending for the next three years – apart from signing a centre-forward. If they appointed Zinedine Zidane, Luis Enrique or Diego Simeone, they’re going to want to have another £300m as they won’t like some of the players they’ve previously signed.
“They’d got to appoint a manager who is going to inherit and like the squad that they’ve got, a lot of them are young and I think that man is Mauricio Pochettino.”Gary Neville
While Mauricio Pochettino will no doubt be excited to return to the Premier League and Chelsea will be delighted to have secured a manager of his pedigree, there is a lot riding on the Argentine’s appointment for both parties.
Unusually for a manager whose previous Premier League stint ended with him being sacked by Tottenham nearly four years ago, Pochettino’s stock remains high in the top flight, with Spurs’ regression since his exit helping to explain why.
But while the 51-year-old is rightly praised for the work he did at Spurs, culminating in their first Champions League final in 2019, he ultimately failed to bring any long-awaited silverware to north London during his five-year spell in charge – the kind of record that won’t be tolerated at Chelsea.