Chelsea confirm Graham Potter as new manager after deal struck with Brighton
Graham Potter has been confirmed as Chelsea’s manager on a five-year contract worth more than £50m as the club’s ownership put their faith in a rising star with fresh ideas to succeed Thomas Tuchel, who was sacked on Wednesday.
Potter joins from Brighton after compensation – understood to be about £16m – was paid to release him. He arrived at Chelsea’s training ground on Thursday afternoon to sign his contract after a smooth series of negotiations.
The hierarchy did consider the merits of other contenders, including Mauricio Pochettino, who is out of work after his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, but really there was only one choice for them, which was reflected in the speed of appointment.
The decision-makers are impressed at how Potter took a risk to ignite his managerial career in Sweden with unfancied Östersund, his ability to do things differently and his collaborative and communicative style.
Potter will be afforded a say in the appointment of a sporting director who, it is expected, will be in place before the start of the World Cup on 20 November – in time to oversee the January transfer window. Tuchel had made it clear he had little interest in becoming involved in that process.
The club have spoken to candidates with and without Premier League experience and, in terms of further signings after the record summer £266m outlay on fees, they have started conversations. Many have stemmed from their work over the past summer.
“I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club,” Potter said in a statement on the club’s website.
“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.”
The 47-year-old takes over a team five points off the top of the Premier League and three points off fourth spot. Potter will take charge of training on Friday. The co-owners, Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, addressed the squad on Wednesday afternoon and, separately, held talks with a group of senior players. They promised to support them as they transition to life under Potter.
Chelsea’s move for Potter unfolded swiftly after Tuchel was sacked in the wake of a Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb and with his relationship with Boehly having deteriorated over the summer.
Potter has previously managed Swansea as well as Östersund and Brighton. He lifted the Swedish club into the top flight and led them into the Europa League. He achieved his and Brighton’s highest top-flight finish last season: ninth.
Boehly said: “We are thrilled to bring Graham to Chelsea. 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.”