Julian Nagelsmann has pulled out of the running to be Chelsea‘s next head coach on a dramatic day of developments which included Mauricio Pochettino and Vincent Kompany making the club’s four-man shortlist, sources have told ESPN.
Former Bayern Munich coach Nagelsmann met with Chelsea executives in recent days for a series of talks which initially progressed well. But with Chelsea adamant they want to conclude a lengthy and exhaustive process to find the right man, the 35-year-old became frustrated and chose to withdraw on Friday.
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Sources close to Chelsea have repeatedly insisted that there is not — and has never been — a clear first-choice candidate and it has also been suggested that the club’s due diligence on Nagelsmann produced mixed results, casting doubt internally over his suitability for the role.
Earlier on Friday, sources confirmed to ESPN that Chelsea had discussed the position with Pochettino, who has been heavily linked with a return to former club Tottenham Hotspur after they sacked Antonio Conte last month. Talks are said by one source to have been “positive and constructive.”
Having dispensed with Graham Potter on April 3 after less than seven months in charge, Chelsea originally identified up to seven potential candidates and sources told ESPN on Friday that search had narrowed to a four-man shortlist which comprised Nagelsmann, Pochettino, Kompany and one other unnamed individual.
As ESPN reported on April 7, Luis Enrique held talks over the position and indicated he would be willing to take the job immediately but Chelsea’s subsequent decision to appoint Lampard suggested they preferred other candidates.
Whether Nagelsmann’s withdrawal forces a rethink over Enrique remains to be seen.
Kompany’s emergence in Chelsea’s thinking is an intriguing development given the former Manchester City defender only retired from playing in 2020.
After two years managing Anderlecht, he has been in England for less than one season, a hugely impressive promotion-winning campaign with Championship side Burnley.
Sources have also told ESPN that Chelsea made initial contact with Ruben Amorim and while the 38-year-old remains a coach they admire, he was not seriously considered for the role.