Mauricio Pochettino is set to be announced as the new Chelsea boss by all accounts in the next week. Pochettino will bring a decisive, attractive brand of football to Stamford Bridge and his move will leave a bitter taste in North London following his decision to sign for the Blues. The ex-Tottenham coach has a lot to consider as he takes over from Frank Lampard at the end of the season. Below are the top three priorities that ‘MoPo’ will be looking to address in S.W.5.
1) Does he move for Harry Kane? The striker conundrum:
Chelsea have been on the hunt for a decent forward for many a season. Not since the days of Didier Drogba rampaging against the centre halves of the Premier League have Chelsea fans had a NO.9 they could adore. Drogba was a fan favourite at the Bridge, and Harry Kane is everything to Spurs fans that Drogba is to Chelsea supporters. The thought of Spurs’ all time top goal scorer leading the line in front of a sea of blue shirts fills every Spurs fan with dread. The idea that Pochettino could have ever crossed the divide between Spurs and the team he dubbed their ‘greatest rivals’ was once unfathomable. If Romelu Lukaku cannot be accommodated back in London, then Chelsea will look elsewhere for new blood.
Chelsea have only 36 goals to their name at the time of writing, and Kane’s 27 this campaign would have been a valued addition to a laborious forward line in South West London. Kane has a season left on his current deal, and will likely have one eye on EURO 2024 in Germany next summer. The England captain will want to be settled and confident he is at his best before attempting to lead England to glory. Working with his old boss Pochettino may be the best way for him to elicit his considerable talents.
2) The future of Mason Mount:
Once likened to current Chelsea coach Frank Lampard in terms of his love and affection for the Blues faithful coupled with star midfield quality, Mount has gone off grid. The England international has struggled for form at Stamford Bridge and for Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate of late. Mount is exactly the type of player Pochettino thrives on. He is intuitive, British, young and hungry to improve. The Chelsea fans have remained mostly loyal to Mount despite his sluggish form, as the ex-Derby loanee adores the club as much as any season ticket holder.
Pochettino has successfully managed a number of England midfield men, including the now outcast Dele Alli. Mount is a player that suits Pochettino’s style of play, able to operate in a number of midfield roles. Pochettino would perhaps be wise to wipe the slate clean for Mount and encourage the midfielder to have another run at a successful Chelsea career. The Blues have said goodbye to some outstanding young talent in recent seasons. It would be foolish to let history repeat itself with Mount and the new boss.
3) A bloated squad:
Insane recruitment under new owner Todd Boehly has left Chelsea with an unusual issue to complain of: they have too many footballers. Rumour has it players are getting changed in corridors at Cobham due to the bloated nature of the squad. Pochettino has experienced a huge summer clear out before. Spurs’ dressing room in 2014 was bloated to the point of exploding. Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and a number of strays at the Lane were disbanded for a slimmer streamlined Tottenham under the Argentine.
With the ability to actually spend money at Chelsea, it begs the question if Pochettino will return to the same method he performed at Spurs of having a small, closely knit squad. Chelsea have incredible players, but Pochettino has struggled to manage big egos before at PSG. It remains a question mark over his managerial capabilities as to if he can suffer big characters in a big dressing room. Chelsea currently have enough dead wood at Cobham to employ a tree surgeon to trim down the team. Pochettino can be ruthless if need be. Chelsea fans may be surprised at just how much so in the coming months.