Transfer news: Next Chelsea manager, Pochettino Man Utd, Man City star’s replacement, and more

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Chelsea players saddened by Pochettino exit, but it’s not a big surprise

Big news yesterday evening as it was confirmed that Mauricio Pochettino is leaving Chelsea with immediate effect. The story might have come as a bit of a surprise to some, but I must admit I’m not that surprised because the reality is that the situation has been tense for the entire season, with some positive moments and some negative moments. Despite a strong run of form from Chelsea towards the end of the season, the feeling at the club was that not everyone was on the same page and that is why they have decided to part ways with the manager.

There were very honest meetings, with many topics discussed about the past, present and future, and then Chelsea’s owners and Pochettino decided to part ways. I mentioned earlier this week that the situation was still open because of so many different people involved in the decision. It was a complicated decision and the end of the season was very positive for Chelsea, but Pochettino also spoke recently and suggested he wasn’t feeling that confidence from people at the club.

From what I’m hearing, the reaction inside the dressing room is that the players are quite surprised. The feeling was that the end of the season was sending a clear message, and that you could see the results of the entire season together between Pochettino and these players, so many of them were expecting the manager to stay. Many players are sad, some are surprised, but it’s also part of the game when a manager is not staying at the club…I can understand that.

Still, it’s not just about the relationship with the players, there also had to be the right feeling between the manager and other figures at the club.

Who could come in next for Chelsea? Plus thoughts on Pochettino’s next destination amid Man Utd links

As I already reported, in case Chelsea wanted to replace Pochettino, and this is now the case, they would like to go for a young manager. Managers like Thomas Tuchel and Hansi Flick are all attracted by the possibility of going to Chelsea, even without Champions League football, but at the moment I’m not aware of concrete talks with these managers because the information I’m getting is that they want a young coach.

Some candidates are being discussed internally, and there is big appreciation for Sebastian Hoeness, who is really highly rated after the job he’s done at Stuttgart. Still, Hoeness has already said no to the Bayern job and said that he wants to continue at Stuttgart.

There are other candidates, though, such as Kieran McKenna at Ipswich Town. He’s done an excellent job, so he’s one of the names, not the only one as there’s not a clear favourite yet. Thomas Frank has also been discussed internally, but it’s an open discussion and Chelsea will take their time.

I’m not aware yet of fresh contacts with Roberto de Zerbi or Ruben Amorim. We’ve had many rumours about these managers, but let’s see if they will decide to contact them or not. What I can guarantee is that Chelsea’s priority would be to go for a talented young manager to create a kind of Xabi Alonso project – someone who can lead the game with possession football and to understand the vision of the club around talented young players.

Chelsea’s plan now is to have internal conversations and also to focus on the summer transfer window because they want their manager to be involved. They want a manager who can trust the entire project and to help develop young players and build the project for the present and future. The idea for this summer is also to explore the goalkeepers market, and they want a new striker, while they also want one centre-back or maybe two. They also need to clarify the future of players like Trevoh Chalobah and Conor Gallagher, so it will be crucial to clarify with the new manager what they want to do.

As for Pochettino, he is open for a new chapter and he feels absolutely ready for any opportunity. Despite reports of Pochettino being appreciated by some key figures at INEOS, there is nothing to say on Manchester United now for Pochettino, but in general the Erik ten Hag situation remains absolutely open and he’s not sure of staying at the club, I can confirm that.

Pep Guardiola’s exit hint and potential Ederson sale

Ederson to seal transfer away from Man City?

Pep Guardiola after winning the Premier League with Manchester City admitted that he’s closer to leaving than to staying when his current contract expires in 2025. Guardiola will 100% stay until 2025 – he wants to stay there and win the Champions League again, so he will also be in the conversations about the summer transfer window at City.

For sure, Guardiola will be at City for one more season, but after that the future is absolutely open. The reality is that he is not discussing a new contract with City at the moment – the situation is really quiet, they are very happy together, and Guardiola’s full focus is on next season, but not beyond. Probably in 2025 they will discuss the future together, but as things stand there is a concrete chance to see Pep leaving the Etihad Stadium at the end of next season.

Another story to watch with City could be the future of Ederson. There is, from what I’m hearing, a concrete chance for the Brazilian goalkeeper to leave City in the summer transfer window. There is interest from Saudi and other clubs, so we could see some movement in the goalkeeper market this summer. We’ll have to see what happens with the likes of Jan Oblak, Aaron Ramsdale and Bento, and it looks like Ederson could also be part of this domino. Man City will leave it to the player, they are aware of Saudi interest and won’t stand in his way.

Man City are considering moving for another goalkeeper in the summer, and also they have Stefan Ortega at the club and he’s been fantastic, always very special whenever he plays, like that save against Son Heung-min that made such a big difference in the title race. In terms of a replacement, I personally think the best fit for them could be Ortega, who is already at the club. He’s shown he’s a fantastic goalkeeper and in my opinion he’s ready to be their first choice.

Xavi yet to have proper meeting over Barcelona future

I’ve had many questions on the future of Xavi as Barcelona manager, but his meeting with Barca president Joan Laporta last night was not a proper meeting, they only spoke for 2-3 minutes as they usually do after a game. A proper and crucial meeting between Xavi and Laporta will take place in the next few days, and then we will better understand the manager’s future.

Xavi has not yet received any communication from the club board about his situation, he’s just read about it in the press, so there will be a crucial conversation with the president to discuss the future.

Ange Postecoglou staying at Tottenham to oversee major summer overhaul

Ange Postecoglou is not walking away from Tottenham – he has no problem with the club, but he wants a different mentality, more of a winning mentality. Still, it was a positive message, not a negative message.

Postecoglou is really happy at Tottenham and they are also happy with him – they believe they have someone who really cares about the club and who can bring a good style of football, so they will keep on building together.

What’s important to say about Tottenham, however, is that in the summer there will be many changes to the squad, as I’ve already reported. We could see eight or nine or maybe even ten players leaving Tottenham – I see Sergio Reguilon leaving in the summer, same for Djed Spence and Joe Rodon. Emerson Royal has interest from AC Milan, but not Bayern at the moment despite reports. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has one year left on his contract and he’s signed for a new agency, so I expect him to leave the club as well. Bryan Gil rejected loan offers in January but he’s expected to leave as he looks for a permanent move this summer. Ryan Sessegnon is also leaving as a free agent, while Tottenham still have to decide what to do with loan signing Timo Werner.

There will be a lot of movement around Tottenham – we mentioned the outgoings, but there will also be signings, maybe four or five players. The expectation is for Spurs to be really busy, with Lucas Bergvall coming to the club in the summer after a deal was agreed in January.

Toni Kroos to retire from football this summer

Another big story from yesterday was the confirmation that Toni Kroos has decided to retire from football after this summer’s Euros. The Champions League final will be his last game for Real Madrid after a great career, and then he will look to bow out of the game in the perfect way with the German national team this summer.

Kroos had almost extended his contract in March in terms of a verbal agreement with Real Madrid to carry on for one more year, but then he made a personal decision, also with his family and people close to him, to retire and leave football now.

For me, Kroos is a legendary midfielder – an incredible player. I’m big fan of both Luka Modric and Kroos, they’ve been among best couple of midfielders in the history of the game, insane players. What they have achieved together is really special and it’s a shame they can’t continue to form that Real Madrid midfield for a while longer, but all the best to Kroos in his retirement.

Youssouf Fofana could be available for around €20m

Monaco have hinted that Youssouf Fofana could be a name to leave the club this summer, but it’s still early to know for sure where he could go and for what kind of price.

My understanding is that Monaco will communicate the asking price for Fofana in one or two weeks – I think he could be available around €20m but that’s just my opinion.

There has been interest in Fofana before – last summer, he was on Manchester United and Inter list but it’s quiet with Inter now. Let’s see what the new Man United board will decide to do, while there could also be other clubs ready to join the race.

More Stories Ange Postecoglou Conor Gallagher Ederson Erik ten Hag Fabrizio Romano Hansi Flick Kieran Mckenna Mauricio Pochettino Pep Guardiola Roberto De Zerbi Ruben Amorim Sebastian Hoeneß Stefan Ortega Thomas Frank Thomas Tuchel Toni Kroos Trevoh Chalobah Xavi Youssouf Fofana