Pochettino has signed a two-year deal at Chelsea with the option of a third able to be taken up by the club, and takes charge at Stamford Bridge from 1 July now the season has come to an end, following Frank Lampard having stayed on as caretaker for the remainder of a disastrous 2022-23 campaign.
Chelsea conducted a thorough managerial search after sacking Graham Potter in early April and held talks with Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann, who withdrew his interest in the job, but it was Pochettino who stood out over several rounds of discussions with the co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali. Sources insist Pochettino was the only candidate Chelsea got into serious conversations with over taking the job.
The Independent reported that Pochettino impressed the Chelsea hierarchy with his vision for the club, while the Argentine’s top-level experience and proven record of developing young players under a clear tactical system made him the outstanding candidate in the search led by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.
While the discussions were protracted and slower than anticipated, Pochettino has already discussed summer transfers as Chelsea look to trim down a bloated squad. The Independent reported that Chelsea will target a new striker, central midfielder and goalkeeper, with Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Alexis Mac Allister and Emiliano Martinez among those discussed. Pochettino will also seek talks with Romelu Lukaku when the striker returns from his loan at Inter Milan.
“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,” read a statement by Steward and Winstanley.
Pochettino will be joined by long-time coaches Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino, Sebastiano Pochettino and Toni Jimenez at Stamford Bridge. That the most notable example of Pochettino’s managerial success came at rivals Tottenham has not been an obstacle in the 51-year-old returning to the Premier League.
Pochettino forged a young, hungry squad at Tottenham and took the club to four consecutive top-four campaigns as well as second place in 2017, their highest finish since the 1960s. Under a bold and exciting style of play, Pochettino’s place as Tottenham’s greatest manager of the modern era was sealed as he led the club to the 2019 Champions League final, but he was sacked just months after the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in Madrid.
At Chelsea, Pochettino will take over a club whose heavy investment in the transfer market under the new ownership has been followed by one of their worst seasons in recent history. Thomas Tuchel was sacked at the start of the campaign while Potter was relieved of his duties just months into signing a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge. Lampard then failed to turn the tide and won just once in 11 matches after returning to the club, resulting in a 12th-place finish.
But Pochettino will also have a point to prove after being dismissed from his previous two positions. As well as Tottenham, Pochettino was sacked by Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season with the club’s Ligue 1 title unable to make amends for the failure of not winning the Champions League.
The Argentinian has been out of work since, although he had been linked with a return to Tottenham after the departure of Antonio Conte.