Chelsea are Close to Appointing Enzo Maresca as their new head coach, with the immediate objective of guiding the club back into the Premier League’s top-four next season.

Chelsea has identified Maresca as their top choice and negotiations are now in advanced stages, as he prepares to depart Championship title winners Leicester City.

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The Chelsea ownership sought official permission from Leicester to engage in discussions with Maresca.

Leicester is expected to demand around £10 million in compensation for Maresca, who has completed just one full season as a manager. He was preferred over Roberto De Zerbi and Thomas Frank of Brentford.

Kieran McKenna, the current manager of Ipswich Town, withdrew from the process over the weekend.

Assuming negotiations progress smoothly, Chelsea aims to announce Maresca as their seventh permanent manager in the last five years later this week.

Maresca is seen as an ideal fit for Chelsea’s board as they seek a new direction following Mauricio Pochettino’s recent departure by mutual consent.

Having previously worked as a coach at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, Maresca’s possession-based approach and emphasis on positional play make him an attractive candidate.

He is known for his tactical flexibility and ability to find in-game solutions. Chelsea envisions the current squad playing in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation, which aligns with Maresca’s preferred style.

The connection to Guardiola is considered crucial. After witnessing Mikel Arteta’s success at Arsenal, Chelsea sees Maresca as another coach who has embraced the best practices from the Guardiola school of thought.

Crucially, Chelsea believes that Maresca possesses the charisma and temperament to manage a club of their size and handle the pressure. He demonstrated this last summer when Leicester informed him that securing promotion was the sole target.

There is a willingness on his part to work within Chelsea’s existing structure, which includes sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Lawrence Stewart.

Maresca’s primary objective will be to secure a top-four finish and return Chelsea to the Champions League next season, which he deems a realistic target.