Chelsea have reportedly identified Mauricio Pochettino as their number one target to replace Antonio Conte at the helm at Stamford Bridge.

According to a report by The Sun, Chelsea’s pursuit of finding Antonio Conte’s potential replacement has led them to Tottenham. The Blues have made Mauricio Pochettino their priority to take over at Stamford Bridge in the summer, with Conte reportedly set to depart at the end of the season.

Pochettino has overseen a fantastic turnaround in Tottenham’s fortunes in the Premier League since taking over the reins at the club in 2014. In nearly four years, Spurs have gone from being also-rans to genuine title contenders and top four candidates.

This season’s performances also suggest a definitive shift in temperament as well, as evidenced by their performances in the Champions League. Meanwhile, Tottenham now look set to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for the third year running after beating Chelsea last weekend and creating an 8-point gap to the Blues.

Changing of the guard? (Photo courtesy - Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Changing of the guard? (Photo courtesy – Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The result also seeks to make Antonio Conte’s future at Stamford Bridge more uncertain than it already was before Sunday. While the manager himself has been keen to depart Chelsea at the end of the season, the club board might make peace with the idea as well, with Champions League qualification unlikely.

If anything, the result should prompt them to intensify their search for a replacement that has seen them being linked with a number of top European managers, and the Tottenham boss has emerged as their number one target.

Pochettino’s impact at Spurs suggests that he would bring about a refreshing change in mentality and playing style, which should complement the likes of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata. The Tottenham manager has also shown that he can work well despite a limited budget, which has been a problem for Conte at Chelsea this season.

But, Chelsea now have a major stumbling block in pursuit of the Argentine as they won’t be able to offer him Champions League football, with a top four finish looking highly unlikely. The aforementioned is a minimum prerequisite to land the Tottenham boss, which makes it an uphill task for them to land Pochettino.

Nevertheless, Roman Abramovich will at least test the waters with by submitting an enquiry to Daniel Levy. It now remains to be seen if Chelsea can find a way to lure Pochettino away from Tottenham in the summer, with Conte set to move on at the end of the season.

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