Chelsea contact Manchester United target as Mauricio Pochettino replacement 

Chelsea contact Manchester United target as Mauricio Pochettino replacement

Chelsea have identified Kieran McKenna as one of the leading contenders to replace Mauricio Pochettino, whose future remains up in the air ahead of his end-of-season review.

The Stamford Bridge hierarchy are not completely sold on Pochettino despite the club’s recent upturn in form which has seen Chelsea gatecrash the top-six ahead of the final day of the season.

Chelsea will secure an unexpected return to Europe if they avoid defeat to Bournemouth on Sunday, having been languishing in mid-table for much of the campaign.

Four wins on the bounce has certainly boosted Pochettino’s chances of being in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat come the new season, but The Guardian say Chelsea are still contemplating a change.

Highly-rated Ipswich Town boss McKenna is a figure of interest and it is claimed Chelsea have already contacted his representatives to discuss a move to west London.

McKenna is regarded as one of the most exciting coaches in English football, having secured back-to-back promotions since arriving at Portman Road in 2021, taking Ipswich from League One to the Premier League.

The 38-year-old, whose playing career was cut short due to injury, spent a few years at Manchester United before securing his first managerial position with Ipswich.

And United are also believed to be interested in bringing McKenna back as Erik ten Hag struggles to convince the Old Trafford hierarchy he can turn things around.

McKenna’s Ipswich finished second in the Championship this season, amassing 96 points from 46 games and suffering just six defeats across the long and gruelling campaign.

Brighton have also been linked with a move for the former Man United and Tottenham youth coach and confirmed on Saturday that current boss Roberto De Zerbi was on his way out.

Pochettino has hinted he could leave Stamford Bridge on more than one occasion this season but attempted to clarify his comments ahead of their final-day clash against Bournemouth.

Asked about his future, the Argentine said: ‘We are planning. We are working. We cannot take some comment from my side [before the Forest game] in a negative way. Always I try to be positive and try to translate my feelings to the people.

‘I never said I’m not thinking in the future. Already the plan is there to start pre-season. In the end, it’s not in my hands to be here or not to be here.

‘We [the coaching staff] are not fake people. We are not going to say we love something when we still don’t have an emotional link.

‘It’s easy for me to arrive and after the first game start to kiss the badge. I respect the people who can do this, but it’s not my nature. I want to create real feelings.’

Pochettino is due to meet up with Chelsea directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley next week but any final decision over the 52-year-old will be signed off by the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership group.

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