Leicester are frustrated with promotion hero Enzo Maresca after his move to Chelsea

Enzo Maresca (left) and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha celebrate with the Championship trophy after Leicester City were promoted back to the Premier League at the first attempt – Getty Images

Leicester City are frustrated by the departure of Enzo Maresca to Chelsea and will now step up the search for a new head coach this week.

Maresca won the Championship title but his move to Stamford Bridge after less than 12 months in charge has “disappointed” Leicester, with senior officials annoyed at the way he appeared to openly advocate for the Chelsea job.

While Leicester acknowledge Maresca was ambitious and would be sought after, they believe the Italian effectively jumped ship at the first opportunity.

“Given the promising foundations laid during his only season as manager, the club is disappointed that Enzo has decided at this stage that he no longer wishes to be part of our vision,” said a club statement that did little to hide their unhappiness.

Leicester will set aside compensation of around £10 million, with Maresca also bringing six backroom staff, but it is a level of turbulence they did not want or expect so soon.

Towards the end of last season, Maresca expressed concerns about Leicester’s financial situation, with the club facing a points deduction on their return to the top division.

But after promotion was secured and during a post-season trip to Monaco, it is understood Maresca informed the Leicester board – including owner Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha – that he was happy to stay.

Enzo Maresca - Leicester frustrated by promotion hero Enzo Maresca as he moves to ChelseaEnzo Maresca - Leicester frustrated by promotion hero Enzo Maresca as he moves to Chelsea

Maresca was praised by Leicester City’s players and supporters, but joined Chelsea just weeks after gaining promotion – Alex Livesey/Getty Images

He turned down offers from Sevilla and Porto abroad and was deeply involved and invested in the club’s future planning.

On Maresca’s advice, Leicester turned down an invitation to participate in the Stateside Cup in the United States this summer.

But out of nowhere, Chelsea officially closed in on Monday, May 27, and it quickly became inevitable that Maresca would leave.

The deal took time as Maresca was on holiday in Marbella last week, while negotiations over the backroom staff also took a long time.

There will be inevitable disappointments in the Leicester dressing room, but some players will also remain unmoved.

Maresca was so devoted to his philosophy that he could sometimes become stubborn and dogmatic. It was a meeting called by senior Leicester players towards the end of the season that helped them over the line.

Leicester will now focus on finding a replacement, with West Bromwich Albion’s Carlos Corberán believed to be the leading target.

Corberán has performed brilliantly despite financial constraints, guiding Albion to the play-offs last season without spending a penny on signings.

He will cost around £3.5m to £4m in compensation, which could be a deterrent for Leicester given their finances, but the Spaniard fits the criteria for the new head coach.

However, Leicester will begin a thorough recruitment process and are aiming to make another appointment this month before the players return for pre-season training.

There is a bullish determination that Leicester still have reasons to be optimistic about the new season. They have experienced this situation before: many star players and key figures have left over the years and the succession plan has largely worked.

The plans for the transfer period and the selection are already in full swing.

Despite Maresca’s departure, Jamie Vardy and Jannik Vestergaard will sign new contracts once the transfer embargo is lifted.

Jamie Vardy - Leicester frustrated by promotion hero Enzo Maresca over his move to ChelseaJamie Vardy - Leicester frustrated by promotion hero Enzo Maresca over his move to Chelsea

Jamie Vardy is expected to sign a new contract that will keep him at the King Power Stadium – Getty Images/Catherine Ivill

Abdul Fatawu, the winger, will make a permanent move from Sporting for around £15.5 million.

However, there will be exits and pressure to raise money through player sales before June 30 to avoid further sanctions.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Harry Winks, Mads Hermansen and James Justin are the players most likely to be targeted by other clubs.

Mismanagement of player contracts was a major problem when Leicester were relegated in 2023, and it remains a problem.

Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho could both leave as free agents this month, meaning millions of pounds worth of assets are walking away for nothing.

Youri Tielemans, Caglar Soyuncu, Jonny Evans and Nampalys Mendy, among others, did the same last year.

The looming threat of a significant points deduction is undoubtedly the elephant in the room.

In March, Leicester was sued by the Premier League for breaching profitability and sustainability rules.

It also emerged that the EFL had failed to impose a business plan on Leicester due to concerns over their accounts.

Leicester announced a pre-tax loss of almost £90 million by the end of the season.

The trial over their existing charges is expected to accelerate this week when Leicester officially becomes a Premier League club at the annual general meeting.

Leicester expected to defend themselves vigorously against the charges

An independent committee of three people will be constituted. Senior figures at Leicester are pushing for any punishment to be imposed before the season starts.

The number of points deducted will depend on the extent to which Leicester have breached the losses allowed, and this is believed to be significant.

Along with the alleged breach in the 2022/23 season, when Leicester were last in the top division, the club was also accused of failing to submit their audited accounts.

Nick De Marco, the sports lawyer who represented Nottingham Forest in their recent case, has been appointed.

There have already been threats to take both the Premier League and EFL to court, so Leicester are expected to defend themselves vigorously.

Despite the seemingly chaotic backdrop, Leicester are determined to remain calm and ensure their preparations for the new season remain fully on track.

Relegation last year was the unexpected hammer blow, but they will return as championship winners with 31 wins from 46 games.

Before that relegation, Leicester had won the title, an FA Cup and been active in the Champions League. The ambition for more magical memories in the future is the driving force.

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