Leicester City

Leicester City

Premier League • England

Next Leicester manager: Man Utd legend a ‘serious’ contender to replace Maresca; striker signing already in pipeline

Ruud van Nistelrooy, Tammy Abraham Leicester

Ruud van Nistelrooy and Tammy Abraham could both be at Leicester next season

Leicester City could turn to a Manchester United legend to step in as Enzo Maresca’s replacement this summer as the Foxes boss closes in on his switch to Chelsea.

Maresca guided Leicester to Championship success this season as the Foxes chalked up 97 points under the former Manchester City assistant coach to seal an immediate Premier League return.

However, Chelsea have jumped all over Leicester‘s success under the Italian and are ready to hand him a contract until 2029 with an option of a further year.

Indeed, it’s understood that Maresca has already signed off on eight deals this summer to reshape the Blues squad.

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And Leicester midfielder Harry Winks clearly thinks Chelsea will be getting an upgrade on Mauricio Pochettinno, having worked under both.

Speaking to Sky Sports about playing under the Italian, the 28-year-old said: “He’s by far the best manager I’ve worked for. He’s incredible.

“Everybody will say he’s going right to the top in terms of managerial stature. He’s got everything. He’s a great man manager.

“He’s tactically incredible in some of the decisions that he tells us to do before the game and how he views the match is something I’ve never experienced before in football.”

And while Leicester’s loss will clearly be Chelsea’s gain, the question remains over who will be in the Foxes hotseat come the start of next season.

Van Nistelrooy a serious Leicester option

Reports from Belgium have provided an update on that situation, with reporter Sacha Tavolieri claiming that former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is under serious consideration by Foxes chiefs.

The 47-year-old began his coaching career as an assistant to Guus Hiddink with the Dutch national team in 2014. He later coached PSV Eindhoven’s Under-19s, before eventually landing the first-team role back in 2022.

During his one year in charge, Van Nistelrooy won the Dutch Cup but ended up resigning with one Eredivisie game to spare, with his side sitting second in the table.

ESPN reported at the time that Van Nistelrooy had left his post due to a ‘player revolt’ over his coaching and tactics.

The Dutchman primarily deployed a 4-3-3 formation during his time at PSV, which fits in with how Leicester lined-up under Maresca.

Despite his success this season, it’s reported that some Leicester fans will not be that disappointed to see Maresca go, with the possession-based style of football on display at the King Power often criticsed.

As for Van Nistelrooy, he underlined his desire to eventually manage in the Premier League back in March.

He said: “I have had offers from various clubs, also in my own country, but I would love to work in England or in Spain.

“I want to coach in a league where I have played, because in those countries I speak the language fluently. In my opinion, I have gained plenty of experience. I have gone through the ranks.”

As for what he can bring to a new club, if handed another managerial position, Van Nistelroy added: “I did the younger youth teams at PSV Eindhoven, I was coach of the under-21s and subsequently became manager of the first team.

“I have managed a lot of different players. I helped young talented players develop, let them grow, like (Cody) Gakpo, (Noni) Madueke, (Johan) Bakayoko and Xavi Simons. I was able to support them in their development.

“It matters to me that it is a well organised club. I still want to work with young players, but ideally with a mixture of experienced professionals.

“I want to help them improve and bring a winning mentality. The latter is the most important thing. With my style of football.”

Foxes target high-profile striker raid

In terms of players the Dutchman could look to bring in, if he does indeed take over Maresca, it appears that a raid on Roma could be on the cards.

In-demand Roma striker Tammy Abraham

In-demand Roma striker Tammy Abraham

Reports in Italy suggest that the Foxes have identified England forward Tammy Abraham as a target in the summer transfer window.

The 26-year-old was forced to miss most of the season due to a serious knee injury and only returned to action in April, finishing the season with a goal and an assist from 12 games.

Leicester are keen on adding a quality No.9 to their ranks to compete with the likes of Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho, Patson Daka.

Indeed, the contracts of both Vardy and Iheanacho will run out in June, so the addition of at least one more central striker could prove pivotal to the club’s hopes of staying up.

Roma director Florent Ghisolfi wants to offload Abraham this summer and is ‘willing to start negotiations’ with the Foxes.

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However, his asking price might be a bit steep, as Roma reportedly want €28m (£23.8m) for Abraham, who is also being linked with Bournemouth.

Abraham cost Roma £34m back in 2021 and is currently under contract until the summer of 2026.