Outright Odds

Next Chelsea manager odds: Nagelsmann the favourite after Potter’s tenure comes to an end

By Harry Edwards

Next Chelsea manager odds: Pochettino the frontrunner as Potter's future thrown into doubt

Published: 8:00, 3 April 2023

Professional football is first and foremost a results business.

So the sacking of Graham Potter shouldn’t have been surprising even if it was sudden. He ultimately lasted 206 days as Chelsea manager during which he presided over 31 matches in all competitions winning just 12 of those while suffering 11 losses.

Despite helping them reach another Champions League quarter-final berth their domestic form has taken a nose dive and their participation in next season’s competition hinges on going all the way this campaign. It feels like a lifetime ago that he was brought in to replace Thomas Tuchel, who has since inherited the head coaching role at Bayern Munich, things started decently — going unbeaten in his first nine games — before the wheels fell off.

Potter, though, can feel hard done by. Having arrived with no pre-season he was soon overwhelmed with a raft of new January signings as well as losing several key players due to injury. But the powers that be made their decision. Bruno Saltor takes interim charge but who could the club hire on a permanent basis to see through Todd Boehly & Co’s vision?

Find the next Chelsea manager odds here:

Manager Sky Bet
Julian Nagelsmann 1/3
Bruno Saltor 9/2
Brendan Rodgers 6/1
Luis Enrique 14/1
Mauricio Pochettino 14/1
Zinedine Zidane 14/1
Jose Mourinho 16/1
Roberto De Zerbi 16/1
Diego Simeone 20/1
John Terry 20/1
*You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (07:30, 03/04/2023). BeGambleAware.

Mauricio Pochettino

The man who is top of most lists for next manager odds, Mauricio Pochettino has been a favourite of Chelsea’s for some time. Whenever the Blues move on a manager, you can always count on Pochettino’s name being mentioned as a potential replacement. And this time there may be more sense in it.

Pochettino did okay at PSG with the stars but where he thrives most is as a project manager — not the kind on the Apprentice — given trust and time to build a team up. For Chelsea, most of the components are there, they’ve spent a lot of money on young stars, they just need the right manager to actually make them play like a cohesive uni.

During his time at PSG, Pochettino utilised a club-favourite 4-3-3 but he might be tempted to return to a 4-2-3-1 given that’s the formation Chelsea appear to have been buying players for.

At the back, Kepa would continue in goal guarded by Reece James, Benoit Badiashile, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella, who has the boost of match fitness over Ben Chilwell. The midfield will be marshalled by Enzo Fernandez and, right now, Mateo Kovacic who only missed the defeat to Tottenham due to illness.

In the 4-2-3-1, Pochettino would follow in Potter’s footsteps of playing Joao Felix and Kai Havertz as the No.10/striker duo, but there could be a way back in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or even David Datro Fofana. Raheem Sterling should come in for experience and ready-made quality, while Noni Madueke has impressed most of the January winger signings.

While the formation and team is mostly the same as Potter’s, it’s all about the managerial and tactical change.

Zinedine Zidane

Another name who always seems to be linked with Chelsea whenever they sack a manager is Zinedine Zidane, who has been very particular in picking his clubs. By particular we mean, unless it’s Real Madrid or France he doesn’t seem to be in a rush to get back in the dugout. Of course, Zidane has already managed Madrid twice, leading Los Blancos to three consecutive Champions League titles and two La Liga titles, split either side of an unsuccessful spell from Rafael Benitez.

“We worked a lot, we had incredible players, and a team that followed me,” Zidane has previously said of his spells at Real Madrid.

“I was responsible for many things, but I had a great team that supported me. It just would not have been possible without everyone. I need to surround myself with people that I feel comfortable with. Without them, it could not work.”

Luis Enrique

Midway through the season it obviously makes sense for Chelsea to be linked more with out-of-work managers, as they wouldn’t have to pay a club to get their man on top of the money they’d owe Potter in compensation. Luis Enrique is a name that has recently become available, leaving the Spanish national team after an underwhelming World Cup.

While many will look to his failures at Spain, national team management is a lot different to club football and the Spaniard certainly thrived in day-to-day football. Enrique was the manager to lift Barcelona back up after Pep Guardiola left in 2012, though his appointment came in 2014 after Tito Vilanova and Gerardo Martino had spells in charge.

In three years as Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique saw Barcelona return to the top of Europe by winning the Champions League in his first season as part of a Treble, later adding another two Copa del Reys and one more La Liga title.

Marcelo Gallardo

Speaking of out-of-work managers, Marcelo Gallardo recently called time on an incredible eight-year spell in charge of River Plate and has been linked with a move to England. Although his managerial career has been restricted to South America, taking charge of Uruguayan side Nacional before moving to River Plate, Gallardo has built up a reputation which saw both Leeds and Southampton linked with the Argentine.

According to reports, Gallardo has previously been a target of Chelsea, either side of Antonio Conte’s Stamford Bridge rein – in 2016 and then 2018. At the time, Gallardo opted to continue his work with River Plate, a long-term project which saw him named South American Coach of the Year in 2018, 2019 and 2020. During his eight years at River, the 47-year-old led the club to two Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana as well as three Argentinian Cups.

While he has tested a number of formations over the years, as one must to evolve with the game, Gallardo had the 4-3-3 as his go-to for most of his final season at River Plate. At Chelsea, this would lead to some big decisions, but it’s something the club will have to trust Gallardo to do.

With a midfield three, Fernandez is of course a must-start — and he played 53 times under Gallardo at River Plate — while Kovacic is as well when fit. But the question is who joins them? Given he is expected back soon, Gallardo would likely go with N’Golo Kante as the third midfield man, which would allow Fernandez to push further up the pitch with the ball knowing he has some protection. Up front, Joao Felix should be the starting man, with the wingers probably rotating.

Diego Simeone

We’re not sure Joao Felix will be happy about this, but Diego Simeone is another name currently being linked with Chelsea. Like Pochettino, Simeone has proven himself to be a fantastic long-term manager, lifting Atletico Madrid to the top of Spanish football which is no mean feat considering you have to beat the powerhouses of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

But Simeone’s future at Atletico has been in doubt for some time, with many expecting the Argentine to call time on his 11-year stay at the club at various stages for a number of reasons. Could Chelsea be a destination? If it is, Felix would be put back into a strike partnership that he really didn’t thrive in, probably alongside Havertz.

But the question is how would the defence and midfield line up? Simeone was once known for the 4-2-2-2 or a slightly attacking variation of the standard 4-2-2, but he hasn’t been scared of switching to a 3-1-4-2 or a 3-5-2. He may get immediate results with the latter, as Tuchel did two years ago, utilising the wing-backs.

The back three would consist of Silva, Badiashile and most likely Kalidou Koulibaly, though Wesley Fofana will be a good option when he regains match fitness, as is Trevoh Chalobah. Ben Chilwell and Reece James are the wing-backs and will remind everyone of just how important they are either side of a midfield consisting of Fernandez, Kante and Mason Mount. The Englishman hasn’t had a good season and is out of form, but Simeone appreciates a man who can run about the pitch showing passion and fight, which Mount certainly can do. It may even be the key to unlocking Mount once more.

Julian Nagelsmann

Another proponent of the 3-1-4-2 formation and currently unemployed is Julian Nagelsmann, the 35-year-old was removed from his Bayern role due to inconsistently meeting that club’s lofty standards, despite his dismissal the German tactician remains a hot coaching commodity. He’s the betting favourite though Chelsea must act fast as other jobs could soon open up in a few months’ time, like the Real Madrid gig, plus London rivals Tottenham are currently managerial hunting.

According to Sky Germany, there’s reluctance on Nagelsmann’s part to jump from one job to another, especially when he knows he’s going to be in demand. On top of that, there’s a complicating factor: his contractual situation. Chelsea would have to agree on a deal with Bayern if they wanted him now even though he is longer under their employment. Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn, before the news of Potter’s sacking, told Sky Germany he expects Nagelsmann to move to another club in the summer.