Thomas Tuchel Fired by Chelsea; Pochettino, Zidane Reportedly Replacement Candidates

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 7, 2022

ZAGREB, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea looks on during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea FC at Stadion Maksimir on September 06, 2022 in Zagreb, Croatia. (Photo by Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images)
Thomas Tuchel (Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images)

Chelsea announced Wednesday manager Thomas Tuchel has been fired in wake of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

"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," the club said in a statement.

Sky Sports' Rob Dorsett reported the Blues are expected to speak with Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino and Graham Potter about their managerial vacancy.

Along with Chelsea's mediocre start to the 2022-23 season, which includes a 3-1-2 mark in Premier League play, ESPN's James Olley reported the relationship between Tuchel and Todd Boehly, the club's new owner, became "strained" over the transfer strategy.

Tuchel expressed frustration about how the side played in Tuesday's away loss to Dinamo Zagreb, the first match of the Champions League group stage.

"I don't really know where this performance today comes from," he told reporters. "A lack of determination, a lack of hunger and a lack of intensity to actually do the things that we need at the highest level. We are clearly not where we want to be."

The 49-year-old German was hired by Chelsea in January 2021. He guided the club to three titles in his first year: the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. The Blues are coming off a trophy-less campaign, however, losing in the FA Cup and EFL Cup finals last term.

Tuchel finishes his 100-match tenure with a 60-24-16 record.

Chelsea's statement said it will work "swiftly" to find a new manager. Until then, the current coaching staff will handle the club's training and preparations.

Zidane has been linked to several clubs since his second tenure with Real Madrid ended in May 2021, but he's expressed a desire to take over France's national team.

"I want to do it, of course. I will be [France's coach], I hope, one day. When? That's not up to me," the former midfielder said in June. "I want to come full circle with the French national team. I met this French team as a player, and it's the best thing that ever happened to me."

It's a position currently held by Didier Deschamps, but Zidane may want to wait until after the World Cup, which kicks off in November, to see whether the job comes available.

Potter makes a lot of sense on the surface after strong work at Brighton & Hove Albion and Swansea City in recent years. Brighton is fourth in the early Premier League table courtesy of a 4-1-1 record, which includes wins over Manchester United and Leicester City.

Pochettino was fired by Paris Saint-Germain in July. He owns plenty of Premier League experience having led Tottenham Hotspur from May 2014 through November 2019, which included a run to the 2019 Champions League final.

While the club searches for a new manager, the Blues return to action Saturday when they travel to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham.