Chelsea  could make use £100m secret weapon to appoint Cole Palmer manager favourite

Chelsea  could make use £100m secret weapon to appoint Cole Palmer manager favourite

Chelsea’s recruitment under the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership has followed a pattern. Outside of promising (mostly) Brazilian teenage prodigies, other similarities in their transfer business has been apparent.

From appointing Brighton’s Paul Winstanley there have been plenty of strands to follow throughout the business strategy. Graham Potter also arrived from the Amex Stadium, as has Sam Jewell in a recruitment role. On the playing side Robert Sanchez, Marc Cucurella, and Moises Caicedo have all followe

The Brighton links have been apparent for a while, but with Laurence Stewart as co-sporting director there are also ties to both Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile, who were a strong centre-back pairing for Monaco. Stewart worked for the Ligue 1 side for five years.

He also had a role at Manchester City between 2014 and 2016 as performance manager. Also working for City at the time was Joe Shields, albeit in a youth scout role.

He joined Chelsea last season after just months at Southampton. Following the pattern, Romeo Lavia (£58million) and Cole Palmer (£42.5million) – who both played for the City academy during Shields’ time at the club – joined Chelsea last year. Lavia was also at Southampton, and he was signed by the south coast club in part due to Shields’ influence.

Although not in exactly the same way, Raheem Sterling also played for City and joined Chelsea, but that came before Shields was appointed. The overlap between directors and their former clubs is evident.

It is no surprise then, that after Mauricio Pochettino left the club on Tuesday, one of the options being considered to replace him is Enzo Maresca. The Leicester City manager achieved promotion at the first attempt with the Foxes, and is one of Pep Guardiola’s so-called disciples.

The Italian spent two years at the club over two spells in between his managerial debut at Parma (which lasted all of 14 games). Having had a journeyman playing career at various clubs from West Brom to Juventus and Sevilla, he held assistant manager and technical coach roles in Spain and Italy before moving to West Ham as the number two to Manuel Pellegrini (another City relation).

In his first season at City he helped the development squad to their first-ever Premier League 2 title. Playing for that squad were none other than Palmer and Lavia. Heavily involved in the youth side was Shields.

Palmer scored 13 times under Maresca in just 16 games with six assists. It was a glimpse of what was about to come, whilst Lavia also played a big part in the successful season.

Speaking about the new Premier League young player of the season when Chelsea met Leicester in the FA Cup earlier this year, Maresca said: “I think people that know Cole, they don’t see any change – in terms of the things that he’s doing now, he was always doing. The only difference is, unfortunately with City, he had many players like him so he struggled a little bit. At Chelsea now, he’s found more space so he’s showing himself, so Cole now is the player that everyone is watching.”

Was it the right move for the now England international? “I don’t know to be honest, this is a question for Cole,” Maresca said. “But probably to decide to play every game, I said many times, we have players that unfortunately this year they didn’t play too much so they come to me or the club to ask to leave.

“At the end they work every day not to be on the bench, they work every day to play and when you don’t play, you are not happy. And with Cole, he decides to leave, with Chelsea, [so] he would play more minutes.

“With Cole, it was quite clear, if you see him every day in the training session or you see him when he plays some minutes with City. No one at City had any doubts about Cole as a player.”

It makes sense, therefore, that as Chelsea seek to identify a new head coach, one of the names thrown up has worked closely with several of those already around the club. If Maresca is the man picked out then a direct line won’t be hard to come by.

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