Chelsea attracted to Enzo Maresca because of Pep Guardiola factor – Andy King

The 44-year-old Italian is reportedly in advanced talks to succeed Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge.

Phil Blanche
Tuesday 28 May 2024 12:00 BST
Leicester manager Enzo Maresca is reportedly in advanced talks to become Chelsea’s new boss (Kieran Cleeves/PA)
Leicester manager Enzo Maresca is reportedly in advanced talks to become Chelsea’s new boss (Kieran Cleeves/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Leicester title winner Andy King believes Chelsea have been attracted to making Enzo Maresca their new head coach because of the Pep Guardiola factor.

Chelsea are reportedly in advanced talks to appoint Leicester boss Maresca, the 44-year-old Italian who until last summer was Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City.

Maresca has since guided the Foxes back into the Premier League at the first attempt following relegation 12 months ago, with the style of football also impressing the Chelsea hierarchy, who are seeking a successor to Mauricio Pochettino.

“I played against Leicester twice this season (for Bristol City) and the way the team was set up was exactly the same as Pep,” King told the PA news agency.

“Why wouldn’t you when someone has just won four Premier Leagues in a row? To have that detail and knowledge and be learning from someone like Pep on a daily basis, why would you not take the best bits of that?

“I’m sure he’s added his own things, but to be able to have first-hand access to Pep Guardiola and seeing how he works is important.

“That was very clear in the way he set his team up and the way he played.”

Midfielder King made 379 appearances in a 14-season stay at Leicester and won the Premier League title at the King Power Stadium in 2016.

The 35-year-old Wales international retired at the end of the season and remains in close contact with the Leicester dressing room.

“I know the lads really like working with the manager,” said King. “They always speak very highly of him and having played against him, I can see why.

“There was always going to be big interest in him because he’s clearly a very good manager.

“As a Leicester City supporter I would love him to stay and I’m sure the club would be desperate to keep him, but I can certainly see why Chelsea have gone for him.”

King spent six years at Chelsea before joining the Leicester academy at the age of 15 and believes the Blues will be aiming for a top-four spot next season after finishing sixth under Pochettino.

“Chelsea usually go for more of a high-profile figure in terms of someone maybe already competing in European competition or the Premier League,” said King.

“But when Leicester played Chelsea in the FA Cup, they put on a really good performance. Maybe that’s what caught their eye and they think there’s no danger that he can’t compete at Premier League level.

“When you spend the amount of money they have and you have the pull of Chelsea, you can attract any player across Europe.

“Pochettino showed at the end that if you can get a bit of consistency, which you’re not always going to get with young players, that they can be a good team.

“I’m sure they’ll be looking to get in those Champions League places next season, whoever the manager is.”

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