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Albert Sambi Lokonga

Next Chelsea manager, Arsenal exit and more

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Vincent Kompany has had two direct calls with Bayern Munich – he’s keen on the job and excited by this possibility. So now it depends on all the directors at Bayern deciding to proceed together. As things stand, they are tempted and consider Kompany one of the most talented managers in the industry, but it needs the green light from everyone on the board.

Kompany is super keen on the job and he’s just waiting for Bayern now, with conversations ongoing, but I can also say that Chelsea never made contact with the Belgian tactician. There were some rumours about this after the departure of Mauricio Pochettino, but they never started conversations with Kompany.

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Chelsea also haven’t made contact with Sergio Conceicao – they are still in the process of deciding their next manager, so despite reports there is nothing concrete going on with Conceicao at the time of writing. They also never made contact with Antonio Conte, this was never an option, despite some rumours that he offered himself to Chelsea – Conte doesn’t have to offer himself to anyone, and he’s not been talking to Chelsea.

Other former managers being linked are Jose Mourinho and Thomas Tuchel, but again it’s all quiet. Tuchel never spoke to Chelsea in recent days or weeks, and Chelsea never contacted him. What we know is that Tuchel would be super keen to return to England, and Manchester United could be an attractive destination for him in case they call, but there is nothing with Chelsea.

Hansi Flick is another name being linked with Chelsea, but again they haven’t reached out to him. Flick is one of the names on the list at Barcelona in case Xavi leaves, but the meeting with Joan Laporta still hasn’t happened yet. So, who are the names in contention for the Chelsea job?

One of the names I’m hearing about is Sebastian Hoeness at Stuttgart – a very talented coach who is highly rated at Chelsea and regarded by some as someone who’s going to be one of the next big managers. But, he already said to Bayern as his intention remains to continue at Stuttgart, so it’s not easy but Chelsea really appreciate him.

Thomas Frank has been mentioned internally at Chelsea, and this comes after they just hired the set piece coach from Brentford, so that’s a very good relationship. Another name to mention is Kieran McKenna after he did an excellent job at Ipswich Town and my understanding is that he’s not negotiating a new deal with Ipswich because his priority is to wait for a different club. McKenna has had conversations with several clubs, including Brighton, now let’s see if Chelsea reach out to him as he’s being discussed internally.

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Enzo Maresca has also been discussed internally, he’s also appreciated by some people Chelsea, but there’s nothing yet about him being the favourite for the job, it’s still just an internal discussion. He has a release clause at Leicester of around €10m, or £7m, after winning promotion to the Premier League. Still, for Chelsea, the list is still open and they’re taking their time to work out who they really want.

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I’ve had many questions on Erik ten Hag and my understanding is that the internal process to decide his future at Manchester United is still ongoing, but as I keep saying, the situation is really open. It’s not just about winning the FA Cup final on Saturday – it’s about seeing the performance and the attitude of the squad, and there is absolutely the possibility that we’ll see Ten Hag fired by Man United.

As of now, it’s absolutely open and there is a 50-50 possibility to see Ten Hag leaving Old Trafford, and it’s normal that new owners can consider to appoint their “own” manager, but internal talks are still ongoing. But what about some of the names being linked as potential replacements for United?

Mauricio Pochettino is now available and my understanding is that he’s really open to new possibilities. He feels he has the energy to go for a new job, he’s not tired after the last season at Chelsea – he’s not taking a break like Jurgen Klopp, he’s ready to continue and return as soon as possible. So keep an eye on Pochettino because he’s absolutely open to a new job, including with clubs in England. Still, despite reports of Pochettino being appreciated by INEOS, there is nothing to say about Manchester United now for Pochettino.

It’s also important to say that, at this stage, Chelsea are not talking to Roberto de Zerbi. He’s another name we see in the media a lot, but at the moment it’s completely quiet. We’ve also seen him linked as dreaming of the Man United job, but my understanding is that he would love to work in Premier League again, even if it’s not about a specific club, he would just love to continue in the Premier League. He’s really open, even possibilities in other countries could attract De Zerbi for sure. He’s really keen on re-starting as soon as he finds a good project.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has only one year left on his contract, but the club consider him an absolutely crucial piece of their project, so they want to extend his contract as soon as possible.

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The expectation is for Arsenal to advance on Arteta’s new contract soon. Negotiations will be in the next weeks, potentially months, but both parties are very happy together and I expect Arteta to continue at Arsenal because he’s very happy at the club.

Also on Arsenal, we’ve heard Albert Sambi Lokonga speaking publicly about his future and saying he doesn’t expect to stay at the Emirates Stadium. My understanding is that Arsenal are open to both loan or permanent deal proposals, based on the fee or the player’s preference – that will also be important. Lokonga is expected to leave again because Arsenal want to bring in a new midfielder and they’ve already got many players in that position.

Ivan Toney to Spurs?

Ange Postecoglou has spoken publicly about wanting to bring new attacking players to Tottenham, but it’s still early to name specific names so I don’t have these for now.

There are many names under consideration, so we will be clear in the next weeks. An important first step will also be to decide on Timo Werner, then all the other options. Tottenham will take their time for these kind of deals, but for sure there’s interest in bringing in one or two offensive players.

Ivan Toney is one name I’ve been asked about with Tottenham, after months of links with other clubs as well. It remains a strong possibility for Toney to leave Brentford if top clubs arrive with proposals. He’s an option for several clubs, again Tottenham still have to decide what kind of player they want to bring in, same for Man United… but for sure, there’s a good chance for Toney to leave Brentford for a new club this summer.

Thiago Motta has said yes to the Juventus project after a long time of Juve deciding he was the only candidate they wanted to replace Massimiliano Allegri. He looks set to join on a three-year contract worth a little less than €5m net per season.

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So, everything is set between Motta and Juventus, the only thing that’s missing is a meeting between Motta and Bologna. He wants to respect Bologna after doing something fantastic there to get the club back into the Champions League after 50 years, so he wants to communicate with them before he signs the contracts, even if the contracts with Juventus are already prepared.

Everything is in place for Motta to leave Bologna for Juventus, as expected, and it’s now just about signing the contracts.



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