Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of Graham Potter as their new manager following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday.
The Blues parted ways with the German after he oversaw a 1-0 Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb. Tuchel may have reached a century of matches in charge of Chelsea, but his tenure ended there.
And Chelsea subsequently had links with Potter, who has left Brighton, Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane as successors.
In the end, though, Chelsea picked Potter, whose stock has risen impressively in his spell at the Amex Stadium. Talks between the two parties progressed quickly on Wednesday and the Blues confirmed his arrival on Thursday, after he penned a five-year contract.
When welcoming Potter to the club, majority owner Todd Boehly explained how the Englishman’s ‘capabilities off the pitch’ would benefit Chelsea – something the club found lacking in Tuchel.
“We are thrilled to bring Graham to Chelsea,” Boehly said. “He is a proven coach and an innovator in the Premier League who fits our vision for the Club.
“Not only is he extremely talented on the pitch, he has skills and capabilities that extend beyond the pitch which will make Chelsea a more successful Club.
“He has had a major impact at his previous Clubs and we look forward to his positive impact at Chelsea. We look forward to supporting him, his coaching team and the squad in realising their full potential in the coming months and years.”
On his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Potter said: “I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club.
“I am very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of.
“I would also like to place my sincere thanks to Brighton & Hove Albion for allowing me this opportunity and in particular Tony Bloom and all the players, staff and supporters for their continued support during my time at the club.”
Graham Potter leaves impressive legacy
Potter leaves Brighton with the Seagulls fourth in the Premier League table after six games, two points behind leaders Arsenal.
He arrived on the south coast from Swansea in May 2019 and got through his first two campaigns with 15th and 16th-placed finishes.
Last season, though, he showed his prowess by guiding Brighton to a ninth-placed finish.
And despite losing Yves Bissouma, Neal Maupay and Marc Cucurella from that team, Potter has progressed again.
The 47-year-old has an impressive record with developing young talent. This summer, he added former Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour to his ranks, with Ecuadorian talent Moises Caicedo starring in the midfield.
Chelsea job a risk – but rewards aplenty
The Chelsea job is a big risk for Potter, but if he can settle in quickly, he has a wealth of talented players at his disposal.
A big consideration is how Potter will handle those star players. He has been used to developing so-called lesser teams with lesser-known talents.
However, the likes of Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are seasoned professionals who need managing.
There are also still issues to sort with player retention. The futures of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic – the three senior midfielders – are unclear.
By the same token, investment in youth will leave Potter excited about the future. Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei look exactly the type of players who could blossom under the new Chelsea boss.
But forget all that for now, because Potter has to get an instant reaction out of players who have dropped off in recent weeks.
Up first is a west London derby against Fulham, who will fancy their chances after a solid start to the campaign.
Then, Chelsea have to repair their Champions League wounds with a clash against RB Salzburg at Stamford Bridge. After that, Liverpool are the visitors to Chelsea’s home ground.
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