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Chelsea attracted to Enzo Maresca due to Guardiola’s influence

Former Leicester City title winner Andy King believes Chelsea‘s interest in appointing Enzo Maresca as their new head coach is influenced by his connection to Pep Guardiola.

The Blues are reportedly in advanced talks to hire Leicester boss Maresca, the 44-year-old Italian who was Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City until last summer.

Maresca has successfully led Leicester back into the Premier League at the first attempt following their relegation 12 months ago. His style of football has impressed the Chelsea hierarchy, who are seeking a successor to Mauricio Pochettino.

“I played against Leicester twice this season (for Bristol City), and the way the team was set up was exactly the same as Pep,” King told the PA news agency.

“Why wouldn’t you emulate someone who has just won four Premier Leagues in a row? To have that detail and knowledge and be learning from someone like Pep on a daily basis, why would you not take the best bits of that? I’m sure he’s added his own things, but to have first-hand access to Pep Guardiola and see how he works is important.

“That was very clear in the way he set his team up and the way he played.”

King, who made 379 appearances in a 14-season stay with the Foxes and won the Premier League title in 2016, retired at the end of the season but remains in close contact with the Leicester dressing room.

“I know the lads really like working with the manager,” said King.

“They always speak very highly of him, and having played against him, I can see why. There was always going to be big interest in him because he’s clearly a very good manager.

“As a Leicester City supporter, I would love him to stay, and I’m sure the club would be desperate to keep him, but I can certainly see why Chelsea have gone for him.”

King spent six years at Chelsea before joining the Leicester academy at 15 and believes the Blues will be aiming for a top-four spot next season after finishing sixth under Pochettino.