Chelsea are finally set to confirm Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager this week.
The 51-year-old Argentine has been in negotiations with Chelsea co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali for more than a fortnight. Now he is set to start planning for next season with an end-of-season fire-sale and a new, streamlined squad with mostly younger players.
Pochettino – who will take charge from the start of next season – will bring his trusted assistant Jesus Perez, his son and fitness coach Sebastian, his goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez and assistant coach Miguel D’Agostino. Frank Lampard will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, with the Blues legend struggling since returning and managing just one win in seven games as interim coach.
Lampard had lost all of his previous six leading to fears his legacy at the club would be tarnished. But now the players that underperformed so spectacularly under the former Everton and Derby boss are playing for their futures under Pochettino. It is understood the Argentine wants to keep midfielder N’Golo Kante, whose contract is expiring.
That will be music to the ears of the Chelsea hierarchy who have been fearing the France midfielder, 31, will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season. Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are among the many clubs across Europe full of admiration for Kante.
But Pochettino wants to rebuild Chelsea from the back and sees the Frenchman as pivotal to providing the protection he needs in front of the back four. Young defenders Benoit Badiashile and Levi Colwill are also safe along with full-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell.
Pochettino built from the back to make Spurs and Southampton two of the toughest teams to beat in the Premier League during his early years at both clubs. But he is understood to be looking for a new goalkeeper at Chelsea with question marks over both Kepa and Edouard Mendy.