Premier League • England

Next Chelsea manager: Enzo Maresca break clause revealed as first EIGHT transfers are named

Enzo Maresca is keen to bring RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko to Chelsea

Enzo Maresca is keen to bring RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko to Chelsea

Incoming new Chelsea manager Enzo Maresca has reportedly already signed off on eight deals this summer to reshape the Blues squad  – though a new revelation about his contract means his time at Stamford Bridge may not been quite as break-proof as initially made out.

The Blues have acted fasted to replace Mauricio Pochettino following his somewhat surprise removal as Chelsea boss last week. The Blues decided to part company with the Argentine – officially by mutual consent – just a year into an initial two-year arrangement with the popular former Tottenham and PSG boss.

Readers of TEAMtalk will have not seen the news as a surprise though with our correspondent Fraser Gillan, who has close contacts at Stamford Bridge – revealing there were strong factions in the Blues boardroom who felt that, despite leading a second-half-of-the-season revival that ultimately saw the club finish sixth and reach the Carabao Cup final – Pochettino had underperformed with squad at his disposal.

Furthermore, Gillan had also revealed that a meeting was taking place in the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge on the Monday and Tuesday last week that was to decide on Pochettino’s fate, with our man having his finger on the button over the likelihood of his removal as boss.

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However, the Blues have not dwelled long in finding his replacement with Todd Boehly and his co-owner Behdad Eghbali drawing up a four-man managerial wishlist that also initially contained Kieran McKenna, Roberto De Zerbi and Sebastian Hoeness, as well as Maresca.

But with Maresca cleared by Leicester to speak to Chelsea, the Italian very quickly impressed with both his vision to re-establish the club among the elite as well as his willingness to conform to their transfer plans.

Maresca contract to contain Chelsea break clause

However, with McKenna being persuaded to stay at Ipswich and sign a new contract at Portman Road and with Hoeness having quickly removed himself from the conversation, Chelsea have very quickly moved to agree a deal to make Maresca their next boss.

And the former assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City is understood to have agreed a deal to keep him at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2029 – with a one-year option on top of that.

That initial five-year arrangement is already longer than the deal Pochettino had agreed upon at Stamford Bridge – perhaps giving another insight into the fact the Argentine and the Blues were never an ideal match – with Chelsea agreeing to pay Leicester compensation payments worth around £10m to the Foxes, whose search for their own new manager is also already underway.

Paying Pochettino off has reportedly cost Chelsea another £10m, but it won’t be quite so lucrative for Maresca if all does not go to plan at Stamford Bridge. To that end, it’s understood that his deal in SW6 will contain various break clauses that will limit him to one year’s pay-off at the most, if the Blues ever decide to sever ties.

Maresca tends to operate in a 3-4-3 when in possession, but adapts his formation to a 5-4-1 when not on the ball and forced to defend their lines. As a result, Leicester, who won the Championship title in Maresca’s only season in charge, finished the season with the best defence and the second best attack in the division.

One man key to that success is midfielder Harry Winks and he has explained why the Italian is one of the best in the game.

“By far the best manager I’ve worked for, he’s incredible,” Winks told Sky Sports of Maresca.

“I think everyone will say he’s going right to the top, he’s got everything. He’s a great man manager, he’s tactically incredible, some of the decisions he tells us to do before the game and how you view the matches, it’s something that I’ve never experienced before in football.”

Chelsea transfers: Maresca agrees first four Chelsea signings

With positive talks held between Maresca and the Blues chiefs in Marbella on Wednesday, confirmation of that agreement to make him the next Chelsea manager is expected to arrive in a matter of days.

And it seems Chelsea are already quite far advanced with a number of transfer arrivals too, with Maresca signing off on four signings already this summer with a new goalkeeper, a left-back, a centre-half and a new No 9 at the top of his wislist.

The need to sign a new striker has certainly been a hot topic of debate at United for some time, with the club looking long and hard at a number of options, including Viktor Gyokeres, Victor Osimhen and Ivan Toney.

And while Napoli hotshot Osimhen has emerged as their top choice, the Italian’s refusal to budge on his £102m (€120m) exit clause makes him too costly an investment for Chelsea to consider.

And with FFP regulations to consider, as well as their need to strengthen other areas of their squad, it’s understood that a move for RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko will now be made top priority.

The Slovenian has made a big impression in the Bundesliga since his move to Leipzig, but a £55m (€65m) release clause certainly makes him an attractive option this summer.

Now it’s believed Maresca has given the green light for the 20-year-old’s signing.

In addition, Maresca wants a new goalkeeper with multiple sources claiming Villarreal’s Filip Jorgensen has emerged as their top target.

Maresca ready to let four players leave this summer

A new left-back is also on the radar with Bournemouth’s Milos Kerkez becoming of interest to the Blues, while the club are also looking into a late hijack of the deal to take Tosin Adarabioyo to Newcastle this summer.

As a proven Premier League defender, the chance to sign the 26-year-old as a free agent is certainly an attractive one.

However, such investments will come at a price and it’s understood Maresca is also ready to greenlight the departures of four players this summer too.

And the first of those – Conor Gallagher – was a player that his predecessor, Pochettino, fought long and hard to keep at the club this summer in the wake of Chelsea’s plans to offload the England international.

The midfielder’s deal at Stamford Bridge is currently due to expire next summer and talks on an extension have so far proved fruitless.

With Tottenham, Aston Villa and Newcastle all on his trail, the Blues are willing to cash in on him if any side meets their £50m valuation and to help fund their own summer of spending.

Of those three, a move to Villa currently looks the most likely, with Maresca willing to let the player – who captained Chelsea on numerous occasions this season – move on.

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He won’t be the only high-profile exit, though, with the club also understood to be willing to let three other academy products depart in Ian Maatsen, Armando Broja and Trevoh Chalobah.

Maatsen is a priority target for Borussia Dortmund after his starring role in helping them reach the Champions League final. Chalobah will also not be short of options after playing himself back into Chelsea contention under Pochettino, though the future of Broja is altogether less certain after a fairly unproductive spell on loan with Fulham.

Sales of all four stars could help raise Chelsea around £110m to £120m and help fund a big portion of their summer transfer plans.