Chelsea FC has finally found the right fit to head the dugout. Mauricio Pochettino will start as the new Chelsea FC manager on the 1st of July 2023. The appointment is in itself an ironic one considering how many times the Blues have stopped Pochettino-managed Spurs from getting their hands on silverware- the highly aggressive Battle of The Bridge comes to mind. After spending more on transfers than all of the Serie A clubs combined in the last two seasons, Chelsea are in dire need of a manager who can deliver success in the long run.
With ownership changes and 2 major managerial changes ideating and scraping multiple long-term projects, Chelsea FC is a club under transition and Mauricio Pochettino just might be the right man to put everything back in place.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Approach and Philosophy
Pochettino started his managerial career at Espanyol but is largely known for his stints at Southampton FC and Tottenham Hotspur. While at these clubs he was virtually responsible for nurturing players that would go on to build the English national side for the rest of the 2010s.
Though he has had the opportunity to coach several talented players like Harry Kane, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe he has rarely given up on being humble. A remarkable characteristic of the Argentinian is greeting his players while entering the room. Rather than treating players playing under him as just ‘players’ he goes the extra mile and makes them feel comfortable. With new players like Mykhailo Mudryk, Enzo Fernandes and soon-to-join Christopher Nkuku this trait will be useful to acclimatize players to a new country and league.
The Challenges Pochettino will face at Chelsea FC
Pochettino will be expected to bring order to a club undergoing chaos for the past two seasons. Chelsea featured 33 different players in their starting XI throughout the last season with only Thiago Silva being the consistent starter, only Nottingham Forest featured more players. Poch, as he is fondly referred to, will be tasked with trimming the squad and keeping only relevant players in the team. He will be also tasked with solving the contractual issues of key players like Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku.
With ownership changes comes instability and structural changes in the first team. When Todd Boehly replaced Roman Abramovich Chelsea went through a similar fate. Problems at Chelsea go far beyond the pitch and Pochettino needs to keep the ownership away from the first team in order to build a sense of stability and security in the minds of players. This should be relatively easy as he has earlier dealt with Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Daniel Levy at PSG and Spurs respectively and was liked by both.
Mauricio Pochettino’s playing style and suggested transfers
Right since his time at Espanyol, he has relied on a 4-2-3-1 high-pressing system which effortlessly transformed into a 3-4-2-1 while attacking. To execute this he relied on the likes of Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier to fall back from the midfield to the defense. The vacant midfield position was then filled by Christain Eriksen placed on the right attacking flank. The full-backs would then charge ahead presenting both overload and counter-attacking options.
Chelsea are blessed to have one of the best wing-back pairing in the league in Recce James at right and Ben Chilwell on the left who, when fit, raid the opposition half like its nobody’s business. To add to the depth of the position one might consider recalling Ian Maatsen from Burnley and Malo Gusto who will soon be arriving from Olympique Lyon.
Given his contract situation is met Mason Mount will be an ideal fit to do what Eriksen did at Spurs. Chelsea will also need a good pair of gloves to fill in for Mendy but with the likes of Pickford, Onana, Raya and many more decent players on the market it should be a relatively easy choice.
What will prove difficult for Poch is finding the perfect midfielder. With Kante and Kovacic soon departing the club Chelsea will soon be in the market looking for a reliable defensive midfielder. Declan Rice will be the perfect fit but with Arsenal and Manchester City already on the trail it will be a difficult chase. Romeo Lavia can be considered as well, though not as good as Rice his exceptional work-rate and familiarity with the Southampton system make him an ideal player for Pochettino.
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