Chelsea make approach for Leicester's Enzo Maresca - sources

Why Enzo Maresca could be a 'good fit' for Chelsea (2:33)

Gab Marcotti and Don Hutchison debate who could replace Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea. (2:33)

Chelsea have approached Leicester City for permission to speak to manager Enzo Maresca, sources have told ESPN, after identifying the Italian as the preferred candidate to succeed Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge.

Maresca, 44, guided Leicester to promotion back to the Premier League as winners of the Championship in his first campaign in charge this season and his success has prompted Chelsea's owners to make a formal move to hire Pep Guardiola's former assistant at Manchester City.

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Former Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi and Brentford's Thomas Frank are also under consideration to replace Pochettino, who left Chelsea by mutual consent after guiding the team to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup final during his one season charge.

Maresca is regarded as a coach who favours a possession-based game with a track record of giving opportunities to emerging youngsters. Chelsea's Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia both worked with Maresca during their time together at City.

Sources have told ESPN that Leicester will expect compensation of around £9 million ($11.5m) for Maresca if they allow their highly-rated coach to speak to Chelsea this week.

Maresca had a short spell as head coach of Italian club Parma in Serie B during the 2021-22 season having previously managed City's reserve team to the Premier League 2 title.

As a player, he won Serie A with Juventus in 2002 as well as two UEFA Cups and a Copa del Rey with Sevilla.