The long wait is over. Mauricio Pochettino has finally been named as Chelsea’s new head coach to succeed Graham Potter, putting an end to a eight-week ‘thorough and exhaustive’ managerial search.
As names have come in and out of the process, patience has had to be had but Chelsea have now crossed the finish line and sealed the deal to tie Pochettino down to a two-year contract, with a club option of a further year, at Stamford Bridge.
To put into context, when Graham Potter was sacked at the beginning of April, Manchester City, who retained their Premier League crown, trailed Arsenal in the league by eight points.
After a year of learning on the job while making mistakes along the way, which have been acknowledged by the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital ownership, the sporting department and hierarchy have taken their time to ensure the appointment of Pochettino was the correct one to take the club forward following a disappointing campaign.
Pochettino arrives back in England after leaving Tottenham Hotspur in 2019 and PSG last summer, ending a spell of 11 months out of management.
After a dismal season, finishing in the bottom half of the Premier League, a reset had been long desired and now they can start focusing on next season.
Change from Potter, albeit reluctantly from the club’s hierarchy, had to happen and Pochettino, who was on the two-man shortlist last September to replace Thomas Tuchel, has been chosen to take the hot-seat in west London.
Owners Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali, José E. Feliciano, Mark Walter and Hansjörg Wyss said: “The sporting team conducted a diligent and thoughtful process that the Board is proud of. We are delighted that Mauricio will be joining Chelsea. Mauricio is a world-class coach with an outstanding track record. We are all looking forward to having him on board.”
Pochettino will bring a sense of freshness in the air in west London with his wealth of experience at the highest level in England, making Spurs a dominant figure in the Premier League on a shoe-string budget, as well as taking them to a Champions League final, albeit which ended in defeat to Liverpool.
It comes without question that Pochettino will bring attacking football to Chelsea, regardless of what shape or formation they take to the pitch. The 51-year-old’s arrival may hand out a number of Chelsea lifelines to players who thought their time may have been up or coming to an end at the club.
Decisions will be required over who stays and who departs in order to reduce the bloated squad, which is a priority this summer, as well as bringing in several new recruits to bolster the team for the 2023/24 season.
Pochettino’s philosophy is built firmly from dominating play in the midfield, and he’ll need the likes of Enzo Fernandez and, should they remain at the club, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante to be in a solid headspace as the club re-kick-start the new ownership’s ambitious project.
But, ultimately, patience will be required in west London as Chelsea begin their squad overhaul under Pochettino, who will bring stability to the Blues after a chaotic year.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid a repeat of 2022-23 next term, but Pochettino has an almighty task on his hands to get Chelsea back, consistently, competing at the top again. The work, albeit officially on July 1, begins now.