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Chelsea have drawn up a shortlist of three possible candidates to replace Mauricio Pochettino, with Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna a leading contender, the PA news agency understands.

The 38-year-old guided Ipswich back to the Premier League following a 22-year absence just a year after winning promotion from League One and has reportedly been the subject of interest from Manchester United and Brighton.

PA understands Leicester boss Enzo Maresca, who led his side to the Championship title, and Brentford’s Thomas Frank are the other names being sounded out by Chelsea after Pochettino left by mutual consent on Tuesday, one year into a two-year contract.

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino left Chelsea by mutual consent after just one season in charge (Nick Potts/PA).

The task of identifying a replacement for the Argentinian, who departed on amicable terms having failed to reach agreement with the club over how much responsibility he would be given over football matters, is being overseen by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.

A final decision on any appointment must ultimately be signed off by the club’s co-controlling owners Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali, who is understood to have been lukewarm on the prospect of Pochettino remaining in the job, and Jose E Feliciano.

Former Manchester United and Tottenham coach McKenna is currently in his first senior managerial role, having been appointed at Portman Road when the club were in the third tier in 2021.

He has since earned himself a reputation as one of the most sought-after coaches in the country after leading Ipswich to back-to-back promotions.

Kieran McKenna
Kieran McKenna has led Ipswich to back-to-back promotions (Gareth Fuller/PA).

His team finished runners-up to Leicester, whom Italian boss Maresca guided to an immediate top-flight return after being appointed in the wake of their relegation a year ago.

Brentford manager Frank, who has established the club in the Premier League following promotion in 2021, was linked with the Liverpool job earlier in the season when Jurgen Klopp announced his decision to step down and is also believed to be on United’s radar should they replace Erik ten Hag.

Chelsea finished sixth this season following a run of five consecutive league wins to see out the campaign and will play in either the Europa League or the Europa Conference League next season.