Brighton open the door to Graham Potter replacing Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea

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The 47-year-old Seagulls boss was installed as the early favourite for the Chelsea helm after the Blues sacked Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday morning.

Potter has a hefty compensation clause in his Amex Stadium deal, but Chelsea's new owners are understood to be relaxed about meeting a buyout.

Former Tottenham and Paris St Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Real Madrid chief Zinedine Zidane are also thought to be in consideration.

Chelsea's new chiefs sacked charismatic manager Tuchel on Wednesday morning, just hours after the Blues' chastening 1-0 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb. Owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali were understood to have already made the decision to unseat Tuchel ahead of that loss in Croatia however. The ambitious US owners are understood to have felt they could not wait any longer to take action, fearing the Blues losing further ground on Premier League powers Manchester City and Liverpool. The Chelsea owners hadn't lined up a replacement, in order to complete the process by the book. Boehly and Eghbali will now approach and interview a small number of candidates, with Brighton's Potter chief among a tight group of names. Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss in January 2021, immediately adding steel and focus to the Blues. The likeable and respected German boss steered Chelsea to their second Champions League triumph just four months later, with a stunning 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto. The Blues' poise and threat dwindled slowly at the tail-end of last season though, with £98million signing Romelu Lukaku disappointing and eventually heading back to Inter Milan on loan for this term. Tuchel guided Chelsea through the murky waters of UK Government sanctions amid the fallout of Russia's war in Ukraine. The 49-year-old kept Chelsea's show on the road while Abramovich conducted a quickfire sale, with Los Angeles Dodgers part owner Boehly eventually winning a very public race. Chelsea's new owners were understood to have been desperate for Tuchel's tenure to continue as a success, but a nucleus of growing problems left them feeling the only option was to make a change. Boehly and Behdad are thought to have felt Tuchel had lost his way tactically, struggling to get the best out of players as had been his early Chelsea trademark. New chairman Boehly has acted as interim sporting director since taking the Chelsea helm, and Tuchel had huge influence on the Blues' summer transfer policy. The Blues spent a record £273million in overhauling the squad, but more work is expected to follow in January. Chelsea have since slipped to three defeats in seven matches at the start of the new campaign, with Tuchel's tactics changeable and his demeanour increasingly tetchy. Tuchel's relationship with Chelsea's players was understood to have become increasingly strained, while communication with the Blues' new owners had proved troublesome across another turbulent summer.

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