"I feel it like when I saw Mikel Arteta" - Pep Guardiola's old comments on 'extraordinary' Enzo Maresca resurface amid Chelsea appointment

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Enzo Maresca is closing in on the Chelsea job.

Pep Guardiola once tipped soon-to-be Chelsea boss Enzo Maresca to become an extraordinary manager. The Italian coach is set to succeed Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge.

Maresca worked in Guardiola's backroom staff at Manchester City from July 2022 to June 2023. He was at the Etihad when the Cityzens claimed the continental treble.

Guardiola waxed lyrical about the 44-year-old in 2021 just after he'd left Parma's coaching staff for City's. He said (via BeanymanSports):

"We are delighted (with) Enzo Maresca (and the) organization (he's done) with the EDS. He's shown he'll become an extraordinary manager in the future. I feel it like I felt it when I saw Mikel Arteta, it's the same with Enzo. He helped to develop many young players."

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reports that Chelsea are set to appoint Maresca on a five-year deal. The Italian tactician will leave Leicester City after guiding the Foxes back to the Premier League as EFL Championship title winners.

Maresca left Guardiola's backroom staff in June 2023 to take up the role at Leicester. He's overseen 36 wins in 53 games in charge at the King Power and has earned plaudits for his possession-based brand of football.

The former Sevilla midfielder will know two of Chelsea's brightest talents well from their time at City. He coached the Premier League's Young Player of the Year Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia at youth level.

Chelsea reportedly see Mikel Arteta's qualities in Enzo Maresca

Arsenal stuck by Mikel Arteta despite a difficult start to his tenure.
Arsenal stuck by Mikel Arteta despite a difficult start to his tenure.

Chelsea are on the brink of appointing Maresca and they appear to be handing him a long-term project. That wasn't the case with his predecessors Pochettino and Graham Potter.

The Evening Standard reports that the Blues are making comparisons between Maresca and Arsenal boss Arteta. The Spaniard worked in Guardiola's backroom staff at City before becoming a huge hit with the Gunners as their head coach.

Chelsea's owners are said to have watched Arsenal's All or Nothing documentary and noted the patience shown to Arteta, per CBS journalist Ben Jacobs. He's been at the helm since December 2019 but has transformed a floundering north Londoners side into the Cityzens' closest title challengers.

Arteta was under pressure during the early stages of his reign due to the Gunners' failure to finish in the top four. The board stuck by him and he's guided them to two second-placed finishes in the last two seasons.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett
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