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Enzo Maresca already knows two Chelsea players he will build team around if he replaces Mauricio Pochettino

Enzo Maresca already knows two Chelsea players he will build team around if he replaces Mauricio Pochettino

Maresca knows two squad players well already.

Enzo Maresca already knows two Chelsea players that he can build his team around if he does take over as the club's new manager.

The Italian, who formerly worked as Pep Guardiola's assistant coach at Manchester City, is the current favourite to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge.

Maresca was appointed as Leicester manager at the beginning of the 2023/24 season, and successfully guided them to promotion from the Championship at the first attempt after the club's Premier League relegation.

The Foxes started the campaign brightly with a possession-orientated style, but a dramatic dip in form between February and April threatened to derail their season.

However, Leicester won three of their final four games to secure promotion with a game to spare, and a 3-0 victory over Preston North End saw them crowned champions.

Now, Maresca will be a Premier League manager for the upcoming season - but with which club is yet to be made clear.

Should he take over at Chelsea, however, there are two players already at the club that he knows extremely well.

One of those is Cole Palmer, who scored 22 Premier League goals last season and has been named in England's provisional Euro 2024 squad.

The other is Belgian midfielder Romeo Lavia, who signed for Chelsea for an initial £53 million from Southampton last summer.

The 20-year-old has missed the entire season through injury - except for a 33-minute cameo against Crystal Palace in December - but will hope to get fully fit during pre-season and kick on next term.

Both players have links to Maresca through the Italian's spell with City's academy, with the pair having graduated through the club's age group setups.

Maresca made his thoughts clear on Palmer before Leicester took on Chelsea in an FA Cup quarter-final tie in March: "I think people that know Cole, they don't see any change - in terms of the things that he's doing now, he was always doing.

"The only difference is, unfortunately with City, he had many players like him, so he struggled a little bit.

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca and Ricardo Pereira celebrate after winning the Championship title (

"At Chelsea now, he's found more space so he's showing himself, so Cole now is the player that everyone is watching."

For Lavia, who is playing catch-up following a challenging opening season at Chelsea, he could be about to work under a manager who has proven knowledge of his talents and ways he can improve.

While still at City, the Belgian told Goal: "I really enjoy recovering the ball and passing through the lines.

"Enzo's helped me a lot with that, always being on the half-turn so I can see the game going forward, so it's not a problem now.

"I know that I've got my qualities, but if I do something wrong they [the coaches] will help me."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Chelsea, Cole Palmer, Romeo Lavia, Manchester City, Leicester City, Football