Chelsea have sacked head coach Thomas Tuchel six matches into the Premier League season.
Chelsea are expected to approach Brighton later on Wednesday for permission to speak to Graham Potter and are also keen to speak to Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane, who are both out of work.
Todd Boehly has axed Tuchel just three months after completing his takeover of the club. Boehly is still acting as sporting director having moved on director Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck and technical and performance advisor Petr Cech this summer in a complete overhaul of the Roman Abramovich era.
Chelsea invested a one-window Premier League record £273m to revamp Tuchel’s squad this summer, bringing in Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucarella and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But Sky Sports News understands Chelsea have been considering this decision for some time and it is not a knee-jerk reaction to Tuesday’s Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.
The new ownership has had concerns for some time and has been looking at other options. Now they want a long-term appointment to move Chelsea forward.
Chelsea sit sixth in the Premier League with 10 points.
A club statement read: “On behalf of everyone at Chelsea FC, the club would like to place on record its gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the club. Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea’s history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here.
“As the new ownership group reaches 100 days since taking over the club, and as it continues its hard work to take the club forward, the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.
“Chelsea’s coaching staff will take charge of the team for training and the preparation of our upcoming matches as the club moves swiftly to appoint a new head coach.”
Tuchel said he was angry at himself for a ‘huge underperformance’ during the Dinamo Zagreb defeat – his 100th and last game in charge – and suggested his side are currently lacking hunger and determination.
Analysis: Zagreb loss typified issues
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:
“It’s the same story, like always,” shrugged Thomas Tuchel. He had the look of a man out of ideas. Chelsea’s decision-makers evidently agreed.
Tuchel was speaking in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s embarrassing defeat to Dinamo Zagreb, a side with only two wins from their previous 33 Champions League games. More damaging than the result itself, though, was the manner in which it played out.
Tuchel had bemoaned Chelsea’s “soft” defending after the 2-1 loss to Southampton but there it was again in Croatia. “We told them to play tougher,” he said of his half-time team talk. The message didn’t land.
Such defensive underperformance was never likely to be tolerated for long. The club invested a combined £172m in Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucarella, after all.
But Chelsea’s shortcomings at the other end of the pitch were perhaps even more costly for Tuchel. Like his defence, his attack was reinforced at considerable expense in the summer. And yet Tuesday’s game showed the issues that have dogged them for so long, a lack of understanding and ruthlessness, had only become more pronounced.
At some point, it has to come back to the manager as well as the players. Tuchel did a lot right at Chelsea. Champions League glory in Porto guarantees his legacy will be a positive one. But there were problems he seemed unable to solve. New owner, but same ruthless Chelsea.
Analysis: Tuchel pays the price
Sky Sports Adam Smith:
The Blues splashed a record-breaking £278.4m in the summer transfer window on a host of new players – which heaped pressure on Tuchel from the get-go.
Additionally, question marks were raised over some of the fees paid on incomings, with Raheem Sterling arguably the only addition to have proven, sustained pedigree in the Premier League. Sterling cost less than prospects Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella.
A convincing performance against Tottenham last month warranted three points but triggered a flashpoint between Tuchel and Antonio Conte as the sides played out a heated 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, with the German later receiving a touchline ban for his antics.
A 3-0 defeat to Leeds followed as Jesse Marsch’s men outplayed their opponents, and there was another shock defeat at Southampton a week later.
The Blues ranked third across all key statistics in the Premier League last season but are currently averaging mid-table across those very same metrics this term – hardly bang for their transfer buck.
The result in Zagreb proved the final blow for Tuchel, with the team – and, most notably, new signings and substitutes – producing poor displays in a dire start on Europe’s grand stage.