Thomas Tuchel has been sacked by Chelsea’s new owners just three months after they formally completing their takeover.
Despite Tuesday night’s abysmal Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb, Tuchel’s 100th game in charge, the decision will still come as a shock to many fans and rivals.
Telegraph Sport understands that Tuchel was informed on Wednesday morning and Anthony Barry is likely to take temporary charge until a replacement is found – with Graham Potter set to be the early frontrunner.
While the loss in Zagreb may have underlined Chelsea’s recent slump under Tuchel, Telegraph Sport understands that his sacking is not based purely on results or Chelsea’s poor start to the season.
Regardless of Tuesday night’s defeat, concerns had been growing that Tuchel was not the right man to lead the new era under co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, and it is believed the German’s future was in doubt win, lose or draw in Zagreb.
Boehly and Behdad Eghbali will move quickly to replace Tuchel and immediately start talking to targets following his removal. An approach to Brighton is likely to be made to speak to Potter, with Chelsea aiming for a swift process of due diligence to appoint the right man.
As well as approaching Potter, Chelsea may try to hold discussions with out-of-work duo Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane. Benfica manager Roger Schmidt could also come under consideration.
Chelsea, who travel to Fulham on Saturday lunchtime, have already lost three games this season, all away from home, and were fortunate not to be beaten at Stamford Bridge by West Ham United. Sources have claimed there have been issues behind the scenes at Chelsea all summer, which Tuchel has hinted at on occasion.
Tensions with Boehly
Tuchel made it clear that he did not enjoy the extra responsibility he was given in the transfer window after Boehly and Clearlake handed him more power and a greater say on Chelsea’s business.
He has reiterated his disappointment that former technical and performance advisor Petr Cech left Stamford Bridge following the takeover and revealed on Saturday that he would not be involved in the appointment of a new sporting director.
Sources have also claimed that Tuchel’s relationship with a number of Chelsea’s squad has deteriorated, while his team selections have caused surprise and, at times, frustration among players who felt they have been unfairly left out or played out of position. That appeared to be evident in Zagreb.
Despite those problems and the below-par results and performances, Tuchel’s departure will put some pressure on Boehly and Clearlake, given the 49-year-old’s popularity with supporters following the 2021 Champions League success, just four months after he had replaced Frank Lampard as head coach.
Chelsea’s fans were also impressed with the way in which Tuchel became the club’s spokesman when restrictions were placed on the club, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on former owner Roman Abramovich.
Just last month, Tuchel claimed there had been preliminary talks over extending his Chelsea contract by saying: “There are talks. But I think given the situation where we come from, and where we are in the middle of the transfer period, I think it is the very best if I focus on my team and on sports and on being competitive.
“My people talk to the owners and take care of everything else. You know how glad I am to be here and how much I like it. So it’s a good thing.”
But Tuchel has become the first managerial casualty of the new Boehly-Clearlake era, following out of Chelsea ex-chairman Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia, Cech and former head of international scouting Scott McLachlan, who left last Friday.
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