Six players who could benefit from the arrival of Graham Potter at Chelsea: Pulisic, Cucurella…

·6-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

After being named as Chelsea’s permanent manager, Graham Potter could be about to make a lot of changes at Stamford Bridge. 

Potter replaces Thomas Tuchel in the dugout after the Blues won three, drew one and lost three of their opening seven games at the start of the 2022-23 season.

The manager will look to imprint his playing style on the squad and could reportedly make signings in the January transfer window. 

He’ll also make a judgement on the current squad. To that end, his starting XI could potentially be very different to Tuchel’s favoured team.

We’ve taken six Chelsea players that could benefit from Tuchel’s departure and Potter’s arrival.

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Since joining Chelsea from Rennes in the summer of 2020, Edouard Mendy has usurped Kepa and established himself as their first-choice goalkeeper.

The Senegal international enjoyed an incredible start to his Chelsea career and was named as the winner of FIFA’s Best Goalkeeper award for 2021 after lifting the Champions League with the Blues.

But he’s had an indifferent start to the 2022-23 season and made high-profile errors in recent games, leaving some questioning his place in the team.

“He knows himself. With these kind of mistakes, I don’t know if it is necessary to speak about it,” Tuchel told Chelsea’s website after the 3-0 defeat to Leeds. “He knows himself and it has nothing to do with protecting him, everybody in the world sees that mistake.

“It’s a huge mistake in a crucial time in the match. He’s the one who’s the most disappointed, this cost us a lot today.”

Tuchel still kept faith in the 30-year-old, who has started all six of Chelsea’s Premier League games in 2022-23.

Kepa, who was linked with a move to Napoli in the summer, has had to watch from the sidelines but did start in the 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and was arguably their best player.

The Spain international is renowned for his excellent ball-playing ability and will be hoping to impress Potter, who likes his team to play possession-based football and used Robert Sanchez in goal at Brighton.

Marc Cucurella

Potter will be reunited with a familiar face at Stamford Bridge as Cucurella worked under him at Brighton in 2021-22.

The manager helped bring the best out of the left-back, who won both the Players’ and Supporters’ Player of the Season awards during his solitary season with the Seagulls.

He was linked with both Manchester City and Chelsea before joining the latter in a deal worth a potential £62million.

“He’s a top, top player,” Potter said following Cucurella’s departure. “Absolutely. We think he’s one of the best left-backs in the world. And he can also play left of a three, that’s quite rare. He can play left wing-back too.

“To be able to play those three positions, to give you that flexibility when you’ve got probably 50 or 60 matches to play is very good.

“Then, as a person, he is a top guy. The players love him. A nice personality, really good. You can spend a lot of money in football and not guarantee. But I think as a guy and a footballer they have got a very good player.”

Cucurella had had a mixed start to his Chelsea career and faces competition from Ben Chilwell. However, he has one big advantage over his team-mates. He already understands Potter’s tactics and will seamlessly readjust to his style of play at Stamford Bridge.

Marc Cucurella laughing with Graham Potter Credit: PA Images
Marc Cucurella laughing with Graham Potter Credit: PA Images

Conor Gallagher

Gallagher won plenty of plaudits during his loan spell at Crystal Palace last season, where he registered eight goals and three assists in 34 Premier League appearances.

He made two starts under Tuchel but didn’t make the desired impact, producing a poor perfomance against Leeds and then getting sent off against Leicester City.

The England international will potentially argue that he’s been played out of position and a new manager could suit him perfectly.

Potter’s Brighton sides were renowned for their dynamism and Gallagher will add more energy to the side than Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, who are both in their 30s.

Christian Pulisic

Having worked under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic was probably delighted when the German replaced Frank Lampard in the Chelsea dugout in January 2021.

But the reunion didn’t work out as planned as the winger suffered a stark drop in form and confidence during Tuchel’s tenure.

Pulisic fell out of favour and started just 13 Premier League games in 2021-22 while his dad often liked Twitter posts criticising the manager.

The 23-year-old, who reportedly tried to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer, will now be hoping for a fresh start under Potter as he looks to get his career back on track.

He’s shown what he’s capable of in flashes and the new manager will now look to get him performing at a high level on a more consistent basis.

Hakim Ziyech

After registering 49 goals and 81 assists during a four-year-spell with Ajax, expectations were high when Ziyech completed a £33.6million move to Chelsea in 2020.

He’s failed to replicate that form in west London and has been a bit-part player during Tuchel’s tenure. Indeed, he often found himself out of the team for extended periods.

The Morocco international looked devoid of confidence under the German. But Potter is an excellent man-manager and could give him a new lease of life.

“He’s a players’ manager,” former Swansea winger Nathan Dyer told Sky Sports News. “He’s a problem solver. Tactically, he’s incredible at making sure when you step onto the pitch, everyone knows what they’re doing. What he’ll bring to Chelsea is exactly that.

“He’s a very calm person. And if he wants you to do something on the pitch, he takes responsibility if it goes wrong. He’s never there to throw anybody under the bus.”

The winger possesses an abundance of technical ability. He could also move central to take up a role similar to Pascal Gross at Brighton. 

Armando Broja

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang worked with Tuchel at Dortmund and decided to join Chelsea on transfer deadline day. But their reunion was cut short after just 59 minutes of first-team football.

It remains to be seen whether Aubameyang will feature in Potter’s plans. But Broja will certainly be hoping for more opportunities.

The striker enjoyed a successful loan spell at Southampton last season. He registered nine goals and an assist in 38 appearances in all competitions.

Despite the fact that Tuchel wanted to keep him at Stamford Bridge, he’s yet to start a single game for Chelsea in 2022-23 and has only made four substitute appearances.

The 20-year-old could be moulded into Potter’s ideal striker and his track record of developing young players speaks for itself.

READ MORE: Graham Potter: New Chelsea boss makes four player demands of Todd Boehly as agreement is reached

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