Chelsea eyeing Pochettino replacement, risking another Graham Potter mistake

Graham Potter
Graham Potter / Clive Rose/GettyImages

As the 2023-24 season draws to a close, Chelsea find themselves at a crossroads regarding their managerial position. With Mauricio Pochettino's future hanging in the balance, the club has identified Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna as a potential replacement as per The Guardian, risking a repeat of the mistake made with Graham Potter.

Mauricio Pochettino's tenure at Stamford Bridge has been under scrutiny, with the club's hierarchy set to conduct an end-of-season review. Despite some key figures favouring the Argentine's stay, the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership has yet to reach a consensus on whether a change is necessary. The uncertainty surrounding Pochettino's position has led to speculation about potential successors, with Kieran McKenna emerging as a candidate.

Kieran McKenna, 38, has garnered attention as one of the most promising young managers in the country after leading Ipswich Town to a remarkable promotion to the Premier League.

His success has not gone unnoticed, with Manchester United and Brighton also showing interest in securing his services. Brighton, in particular, has targeted McKenna as a replacement for the departing Roberto De Zerbi.

Despite the potential risks, Chelsea remains intrigued by McKenna's work and has reportedly engaged in discussions with his representatives. This development has further fuelled speculation about Pochettino's position, with the Argentine hinting at the possibility of walking away if faced with dismissal.

Kieran McKenna
Kieran McKenna / Stephen Pond/GettyImages

The club's succession planning has led them to consider several managers, but some argue that appointing McKenna could be a repeat of the mistake made with Graham Potter. Potter, who joined Chelsea from Brighton, lasted less than seven months in the role, highlighting the challenges of transitioning from a smaller club to a high-pressure environment like Chelsea.

The leap from managing Ipswich Town to a club with the resources, expectations, and pressure of Chelsea may prove too significant for McKenna at this stage in his career. While his innovative ideas and potential are undeniable, the demands of managing a top-tier club, especially under the current ownership, could overshadow his abilities.

Chelsea, having had five managers since the Boehly-Clearlake takeover in 2022, faces a crucial decision regarding their managerial position. Co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley will oversee a meeting with Pochettino early next week, with input from Boehly and Clearlake. Any decision to sack the Argentine would require their approval.

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

As Chelsea aims to secure a top-six finish and European football in their final game against Bournemouth, the outcome of Pochettino's review and the club's pursuit of a suitable replacement will undoubtedly shape the team's prospects in the coming seasons.

The club must carefully consider the potential risks associated with appointing a young manager like Kieran McKenna, given the recent experience with Graham Potter. While McKenna's talent is evident, the jump from Ipswich to Chelsea may be too significant at this juncture in his career.

Chelsea faces critical decisions that will determine their managerial position and future direction. The club must strike a balance between recognising potential and ensuring stability to avoid repeating past mistakes and secure long-term success.