Chelsea agree on ‘favourite candidate’ as two targets pull out running

Chelsea are accelerating talks with Julian Nagelsmann over their managerial vacancy with the German now considered to be the ‘favourite candidate’ internally at Stamford Bridge. The former Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich boss must now decide whether he is prepared to jump straight back into a new challenge just one week on from his shock dismissal at the Allianz Arena where he was replaced by former Chelsea tactician Thomas Tuchel.

Nagelsmann ticks multiple boxes for Todd Boehly and with the Blues still desperate to make something of their season, there is a sense that Chelsea will try to push ahead with an appointment within the next week.

The club are still set to hold talks with Luis Enrique and Mauricio Pochettino but it appears contacts are now ongoing with the entourage of Nagelsmann.

According to Fabrizio Romano, discussions are set to continue on Wednesday with the 35-year-old highly-rated amongst the club’s hierarchy.

“Contacts between Chelsea and Julian Nagelsmann will continue today in order to make a decision on both sides with German coach favourite candidate since Sunday,” Romano tweeted.

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“Luis Enrique remains one of the names in the list. No contacts with Tite, [Luciano] Spalletti or [Roberto] De Zerbi despite links.”

It’s understood De Zerbi would favour staying at Brighton having only joined the club in September when he replaced ex-Chelsea boss Graham Potter.

The Italian has also been courted by Tottenham but he has already made it clear on a number of occasions he is happy at the Amex.

That said, he does have a release clause written into his Brighton contract that does not kick into gear until the upcoming summer.

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De Zerbi is not the only manager who is believed to have ruled out an imminent move to Stamford Bridge.

Sporting boss Ruben Amorim, who is highly rated by Chelsea co-owner Boehly, is happy in Lisbon and is willing to bide his time before pursuing an opportunity in the Premier League.

Amorim said: “I’ve seen many managers move to other leagues and they weren’t happier. This is an important factor. I’m not looking for anything, I value what I have and not what is said. I’ve had contacts with other clubs, Sporting knows that but I want to stay.

“If I have to leave, it will happen naturally. I won’t be the one to open the door, Sporting deserves respect. If I have to go, I’ll go. I’ll tell the president. I want to fulfil my contract, I have very clear goals for what I want to do.

“Anyone who wants me will have to pay the [release] clause because that is my way of doing things.”

Amorim was courted by Aston Villa following the sacking of Steven Gerrard and boosted his stock with victories over Tottenham and Arsenal [penalties] in Europe this season.

Eintracht Frankfurt’s Oliver Glasner is another name of interest to Boehly having guided the Bundesliga side to Europa League glory last season.

Bruno Saltor’s stint as interim boss was firmly under way on Tuesday evening as Chelsea played out their fourth successive 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

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