How will Todd Boehly's latest managerial appointment Enzo Maresca fare at Chelsea?

Published on 31 May 2024 at 16:00

Chelsea have ascended into a maligned outfit since Clear Lake Capital's Takeover in 2021; adopting a scatter-gun transfer strategy, splashing over 1billion pounds on every young prodigy in football and sacking four managers.

 The debut season of the Todd Boehly era saw Champions League winning German Thomas Tuchel dismissed after seven games, his replacement Graham Potter record Chelsea's lowest win ratio in 27 years and the club finishing 12th with their lowest ever points tally in the Premier League (44).

A year later Mauricio Pochettino has implemented significant improvement with the Blues clinching European football on the final day after finding form in 2024, where only Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal recorded more points.

Finally, Chelsea fans were buoyed by the team's gradual development and recent performances, recording five successive Premier League wins to complete the campaign. There was an optimism going into the summer, with the expectation of building on the solid platform which had been built under Pochettino... but this is Chelsea.


Todd Boehly has visualised an American Dream at Chelsea in which he wants a 'young progressive coach' who is mouldable to his long-term vision at the West London club. 

Unfortunately Mauricio Pochettino, was never going to be this subservient puppet who was going to be oblivious to papering over the cracks and this resulted in his departure after an end of season review with Todd Boehly.

 The Argentine is the longest-serving manager under the American billionaire, mainly because of his charismatic and warming nature compared to the fiery and outspoken personality of Thomas Tuchel.

He appeared the ideal presentable media trained front of house who would avoid controversy, but throughout the season the 52 year old became more vocal on issues within the club.

He expressed a want to have more control over the clubs signings, was stern in his cry for greater support during Chelsea's injury crisis and disapproved of the club's intent to sell key player Connor Gallagher. Chelsea's hierarchy do not want a rogue manager with his own direction, they are fixated on creating a symbiotic club structure where from the players up to the sporting director their is a collective understanding to buy into the process.

Pochettino, notorious for his development of youth at Tottenham Hotspur seemed the perfect candidate for Boehly's youthful vision to create a team for the future. But, Pochettino was a defiant character who knew his worth and it seemed after achieving an incredible feat of a sixth place finish he felt he deserved more influence. Instead it signalled the end of his chapter at Chelsea.



The Roman Abramovich era of recruiting proven serial winners in the dug-out such as Jose Mouhrino, Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel are a distant past under Boehly.

Where Abramovich was an ominous distant figure who injected finances into the club and gave the managers full control, Boehly has been a present figure at Stamford Bridge and is looking for a promising manager who does not have an ego beckoning their own agenda.

Kieran McKenna, Enzo Maresca, Roberto De Zerbi and Ruben Amorim were on the shortlist to replace Pochettino; the oldest just 44 years old. Chelsea want to adopt the modern model of recruiting a young understudy who is ready to take the limelight.

It was reported the board watched Arsenal's Amazon Prime documentary to study Mikel Arteta, and after witnessing the successful influx of former players thriving in management with Xabi Alonso, Thiago Motta, Vincent Kompany and more they want to create their own.

There was only nine days between Pochettino's shock exit and the announcement of Championship winning coach of Leicester City Enzo Maresca as his successor.

The hierarchy promised fans a replacement would be found within the next week, and they've been swift to uphold their promise. The speed of the appointment instigates the board were lining this up while Pochettino was still in the dug-out and that they probably knew of the outcome prior to entering crucial talks with the former PSG manager.

After receiving permission to speak to Maresca, within days Fabrizio Romano unveiled Chelsea would pay £8m in compensation to Leicester City to secure the Spaniard.

Chelsea fans have been here before, the arrival of Graham Potter from Brighton Hove Albion was seen as a bold strategy to bring in an exciting young coach with an attacking philosophy. But, after a disastrous eight months he was sacked.

Boehly has emphasised his commitment to give Maresca time which Potter did not have, as he reiterates the club's determination to trust the process which is shown in Maresca's five year contract until 2029.

However, Chelsea fans know all to well not to trust their owners open promises. Many fans are overwhelmed with anxiousness at the underwhelming appointment of a manager who bottled a 19 point lead in the Championship title race and almost failed to secure automatic promotion last season.

On the other hand, Maresca comes with no expectations unlike the marquee names of Pochettino or Tuchel which could ease pressure and give him the platform to surprise a lot of doubters. All Chelsea fans are secretly hoping deep down that this radical change will produce a Xabi Alonso story which will get the club back to the promise land.


What seems different to this appointment compared to Graham Potter is that Chelsea have implemented a structure to serve Maresca. In October 2022 they appointed Joe Shields as head-of recruitment from Southampton and Shields who previously worked with Maresca at Manchester City recommended the manager.

Unlike Pochettino whose appointment was reported to by divided amongst the Chelsea senior officials, they are in unison about Maresca with sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart impressed by the 44 year old as an ideal candidate.

Maresca's assistant manager is former Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero who served as a player at the club between 2017 and 2021. There is a underlying confidence that after the initial chaos and hap-hazardous direction of Boehly's era finally their decisions are making sense and align.

He favours a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 system with a tendency to deploy inverted fullbacks which should suit the current Chelsea squad, and it is believed Chelsea players although initially surprised by Pochettino's exit after a strong end to the season are behind Maresca's tactical approach and philosophy.

One of the key influences that made Maresca appeal to Chelsea was his extensive plans to get the best out of Enzo Fernandez, where he outlined a detailed plan of how to help the World Cup winner flourish in the team.

This was a key element for the Chelsea hierarchy who invested £105m on the midfielder and are yet to see the best out of the 24 year old who was not valued by former coach Pochettino.

Chelsea fans are going into the unknown this summer, it is largely expected to be a summer of clear outs rather than a spending spree given FFP concerns. The ideal outcome will be a productive pre-season for Maresca where he can implement his tactic's and galvanise the team in preparation for the 2024-25 campaign.

At this time next season, will it be ground-hog day announcing yet another managerial casualty or will it be championing a season of progress for the boys in Blue?


Written by Lewis Eadie


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