Premier League • England

‘Disappointment’ set to change to joy as ‘key factor’ emerges giving Chelsea candidate vital edge in race to replace Lampard

Luis Enrique reportedly spoke to Chelsea officials via a video call before his face-to-face meeting and links to a Barcelona star give him an advantage.

The Blues are currently under their third manager of the campaign, with Frank Lampard back in the dugout. Thomas Tuchel was dispensed with on September 7 last year while Graham Potter lasted only seven months. Lampard returned on an interim basis, with the west Londoners actively seeking Potter’s permanent successor.

An initial list of candidates seems to have narrowed to just two. Julian Nagelsmann and Enrique appear to be the duo battling to take over at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard has been interviewed and vowed to start learning English to overcome the language barrier.

But AS are reporting that the former Spain manager had already pleaded his case to Todd Boehly on a video call.

And it is said that he ‘tried to convince’ Boehly to name him manager immediately.

It appears the former Barca chief thought it ‘an exciting challenge’ to be at the helm for Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid.

However, the club’s hierarchy decided to go down another route. The report adds that Enrique had been ‘very motivated’ to go up against Los Blancos and the snub ‘was a disappointment’.

READ MORE: Chelsea urged to snub Nagelsmann capture in favour of ‘real deal’ coach shining at Premier League rivals

But it may be that his experience of managing in Spain might give the 52-year-old the edge this summer.

Enrique has the right connections

Chelsea’s season has lurched from one crisis to another. And the latest managerial appointment has done little to turn things around.

Lampard has yet to pick up a point, with defeat to Wolves and Brighton. And he watched his charges suffer a 2-0 first-leg defeat to Real in their Champions League quarter-final.

They have an opportunity to put things right when the LaLiga giants arrive for the return leg on Tuesday evening.

But it has been a dreadful league campaign, with 12 defeats and only 10 victories seeing them down in 11th spot.

Boehly cannot be accused of not backing his managers, with vast sums spent on new stars. But there is a sense that the side lacks direction with the wrong blend of players.

Enrique clearly feels he has the solution and is desperate to land the job. And it may be that he holds a trump card in his battle with Nagelsmann.

Chelsea have been linked with a move for Barcelona starlet Gavi. The 18-year-old is rated as one of the hottest talents in the European game, with 19 Spain caps to his name already.

Liverpool and Manchester City have also been mentioned in connection with the midfield ace.

Having Enrique pulling the Chelsea strings may convince the in-demand schemer to join the club.

And AS suggest that his disappointment at losing out to Lampard ‘could change radically’ over the next few months.

It remains to be seen which man is in charge next season. But Enrique’s enthusiasm and contacts mean he is surely the leading candidate to try and right the current wrongs.

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