Pochettino asks for another year at Chelsea

This followed a 2-0 derby win over Tottenham and suddenly he is flavour of the month again and the management are taking a more positive view of keeping him.

In Summary

• The 52-year-old Pochettino has a contract until the end of next year and it would cost approximately £10million to sack him.

United hope Maguire will be fit for the FA Cup final against Manchester City on May 25 and the Euros in the summer. 

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino
Image: FILE

Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino says he does not know what will happen to him at the end of the season but the 5-0 win over West Ham could be the turning point which gives him more time at the Bridge.

This followed a 2-0 derby win over Tottenham and suddenly he is flavour of the month again and the management are taking a more positive view of keeping him.

Things are never certain in football but as Pochettino said, Chelsea are ticking again after a largely disappointing season. The Blues were in danger of becoming a one-man team— Cole Palmer, the signing of the season, but Conor Gallagher is blossoming.

Even Nicolas Jackson is scoring but still missing a few. Noni Madueke embarrassed Emerson as Chelsea hammered West Ham.

The 52-year-old Pochettino has a contract until the end of next year and it would cost approximately £10million to sack him. Delaying a decision is being considered as they wait to see how next season will pun out.

No discussions about plans for next year with the board or management staff. Pochettino said somewhat philosophically: “If I have one more year on my contract here and no one says anything then I suppose that I am going to be here.” 

Jorginho wanted for another season

Arsenal are confident they can persuade Jorginho to sign a new contract despite interest from several Italian clubs.

It was a surprise that Chelsea released him for £12 million and many supporters questioned why Mikel Arteta had signed him. However, the 32-year-old has brought experience and confidence into the squad. He has played 35 times this season.

Jorginho is settled at the Emirates but Juventus, Lazio and Napoli are all watching him.

It is important that the Gunners keep him to maintain continuity in the centre of midfield especially as there is uncertainty surrounding the futures of Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga. 

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire

Maguire to miss rest of season

Harry Maguire has sustained a muscle injury which will prevent him from playing for three weeks which means, according to the Manchester United medical team, he is unlikely to feature in another Premier League match until the start of next season.

United hope he will be fit for the FA Cup final against Manchester City on May 25 and the Euros in the summer. 

Postecoglou to change his squad

Angry Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham have hit a downturn at exactly the wrong time of the season. They are chasing an Aston Villa team who are fourth, seven points better.

Fortunately for Spurs, who have a game in hand, Villa lost last weekend. Tottenham will be at home to Burnley on Saturday while Villa have a difficult home match against Liverpool on Monday.

Postecoglou has warned his players that not all of them will be around for next season.

He said: “I have to change this squad. I have to. I have to build a squad that can play our style of football. For that to happen, there will be exits. I can’t keep all my players here and still bring in new ones.”

He doesn’t think he can win trophies with his current squad. He continued: “Will we be ready in 12 months? That’s the challenge I’ve got."

"I can’t sit here and say we will finish fourth, fifth, sixth and then in the third or fourth year, will win something. I’m not built that way. I want to win things all the time. We start next year. But the underlying thing is growth. We’ve got to have growth.”

Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel
Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel

United eye up Tuchel

I feel sorry for Erik Ten Hag. It must give him a horrible feeling in his stomach every time he picks up a newspaper or hears a radio report which mentions a list of candidates queuing up for his job.

The latest news coming out of Old Trafford is that outgoing Bayern Munich and ex-Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel has been added to the list.

Tuchel agreed with Bayern in February that he would leave after the German giants failed to win the Bundesliga title for the first time in 13 years.

Bayer Leverkusen, under Xabi Alonso, have won their first title. Bayern supporters have been chanting support for Tuchel and have held banners telling the club they want him to stay.

But I understand this has not influenced the management. The German, who guided Chelsea to Champions League success in 2021 and won the Bundesliga title the following year, would welcome a return to the Premier League. 

Tractor Boys back in the Premier League

I am a happy person. For 22 years since Ipswich Town were relegated from the elite division, I have patiently waited, supporting the team I first watched at six when my father took me to Portman Road.

Finally, we have made it back to the Premier League. Yes, the Tractor Boys will visit the likes of Old Trafford, The Emirates, Anfield etc next year.

I will have the pleasure of reporting to you from inside the dressing room and behind the scenes. Coach Kieran McKenna studied under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United and learned his trade after giving up a playing career at Tottenham, aged 22, when he sustained a serious thigh injury.

Ipswich CEO Martin Ashton tracked Kieran for two years before giving him the chance to manage his first club and he has taken Town from League 1, up through the Championship in one season and into the Premier League.

McKenna’s Ipswich style of play is entertaining attacking football and at one stage the club had scored more goals this season than any other club in Europe. Wes Burns, Conor Chaplin and Sam Morsey have been the standout players and loanees Omari Hutchinson (Chelsea), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth) and Jeremy Sarmiento (Brighton) have played their part.

Ipswich hope to sign them permanently. McKenna is a clever tactician and a coach who dramatically improves players under his charge. If Ipswich keep him, next season will be interesting.

But with the amazing success he has brought to the East Anglian team, there is word from inside that three clubs have enquired about him. 

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery
Image: FILE

Villa tie down Unai Emery

Aston Villa coach Unai Emery has warned his players that they must play to their maximum if they want to stay at the club.

The 52-year-old agreed a one-year extension to his current contract —until 2027. I understand Villa want him to stay even longer and will meet his representatives this summer to explore a new deal. Villa are in a strong position to qualify for a Champions League spot next year and despite losing at the weekend, they are holding off the challenge from Tottenham.

Emery said: “The club gave me a lot of confidence and allowed me to create a structure with people around me, coaches and workers. With the players we have, they have been demanding."

"They have to deserve to be part of our project because their performance and their commitment to wanting to play with the desire to get something more with us in their career is all I want."

"I want the players to be demanding themselves to develop and to be always deeming to learn and be ambitious, trying to get trophies and a big commitment with Aston Villa. This is my objective as well.” 

Sancho might return to United

Jadon Sancho’s excellent form at Borussia Dortmund is being closely monitored at Manchester United.

It is still undecided whether to sell him in the summer or return him to Old Trafford, ending his loan but that depends on whether Erik Ten Hag remains at the club.

United paid £73million for Sancho, which is an expensive outlay because his fallout with the coach has meant United have not benefitted from his talents this season.

Ten Hag is fighting for his job but the new owners Ineos have not decided on Sancho. United believe his value has increased particularly after his man-of-the-match Champions League performance against Paris Saint-Germain, where he outshone Kylian Mbappe. 

West Ham United manager David Moyes
West Ham United manager David Moyes

Poor treatment for departing Moyes

Following last weekend’s 5-0 thrashing by Chelsea and recent poor results, the future of coach David Moyes at West Ham is over.

The club have agreed terms with former Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui.

Moyes has been mistreated, considering he has had two stints at the club— saving them from relegation in the first— and steering them to Europe in the next, winning the European Conference League.

West Ham are ninth in the table, five points behind Man Utd and Chelsea and seven behind Newcastle at sixth. If he had left last summer, he would have been hailed as a great coach in East London but now he leaves with little appreciation of what he has achieved for the club.

Can I borrow your scissors, Mum?

I watched Chelsea's Conor Gallagher in training last week and his performance in the match at West Ham. I laughed at Conor’s socks which have holes cut into the back. On enquiring why he was vandalising his kit, I was told it was to ease tension on the calf muscles.

I then thought of all the young schoolboys who idolise their heroes and tend to copy much of what they do. With a complete football kit costing around £120, parents might be upset when their children borrow mum’s scissors to holes in the socks!

Supporters held up a huge banner pleading with the club not to sell Conor Gallagher at the end of the season. The massive “Chelsea since birth” banner covered two tiers of the shed end. 

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in action with Norwich City's Angus Gunn
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in action with Norwich City's Angus Gunn

Vardy ready to play in the Premier League, again

Joining Ipswich and winners of the Championship title are Leicester City who are back after only one season out of the PL.

Their Thai owners — the Srivaddhanaprabha family — are perhaps one of football’s favourite owners given they have gone through a lot of tragedy over the last few years and stuck by the Foxes through thick and thin.

Like Kieran McKenna at Ipswich, Leicester coach Enzo Maresca had little experience in big-time coaching.

But as an assistant to Pep Guardiola, the club decided to take a chance on him. It has paid off. Also returning to the PL is the ever-young Jamie Vardy.

He is 37 and not the player he was when Leicester proved they were the best in the elite division in 2016. But coming off the bench these days, Vardy has scored a hatful of goals and can continue next season. 

Milner is back for another season

James Milner is one of the great players of the last 15 years and even at 38, Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi would like him to stay for next season. Midfielder Adam Lallana, 35, is in a similar position.

De Zerbi said: “They are both important players to this club and to me.”

Milner and Lallana are currently injured but hope to make the last match of the season. De Zerbi revealed that England international striker Danny Welbeck is close to agreeing an extended contract.