Chelsea have appointed Graham Potter as the new manager of their men’s first-team squad.
Potter’s appointment comes just a day after Thomas Tuchel was unexpectedly sacked after 20 months in charge at Stamford Bridge, during which he had guided the men’s first-team to three titles and led his squad through a change of ownership from Roman Abrahimovich to Todd Boehly.
Following confirmation of Tuchel’s departure, Boehly moved swiftly to open negotiations with Potter following the acceptance of permission from Brighton & Hove Albion for discussions to be held with their Head Coach.
Chelsea consequently agreed a pay-out fee to Brighton of around £15m, which activated Potter’s release clause in order for him to make the switch to Stamford Bridge, with the Blues currently sat sixth in the Premier League and three points off his now former team – Brighton who are fourth.
Potter has signed a five-year contract which will see him in charge at Stamford Bridge until June 2027.
Speaking about his decision to make the move to West-London and become Chelsea’s third permanent English manager in the Premier League era, Potter commented that he is “incredibly proud and excited” to join the club.
On reuniting with his ex Brighton player – Marc Cucurella and coaching new players, Potter said: “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.”
Potter also acknowledged Brighton’s support in this move as he added: “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.”
Chairman, Boehly added that he is “thrilled” to sign “a proven coach and an innovator in the Premier League who fits our vision for the Club.”
On why he decided to appoint Potter as manager, Boehly added: “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.”
Potter previously began his managerial career with Sweden’s Ostersunds FK where he led them to three promotions, plus qualification for 2017-18 Europa League in which they beat Galatarasay and PAOK en route to an eventual Round of 32 exit against Arsenal.
Potter’s heroics – which included a shock away win at Arsenal – consequently attracted the attention of Swansea City who appointed him in June 2018, as the Swans eventually finished 10th in their first season back in the Championship after relegation from Premier League in May 2018.
Brighton however were impressed by Potter’s exploits in Wales and swooped for him as Chris Houghton’s replacement, which paid off as the 47 year-old kept the Seagulls up in his first two seasons at the AMEX Stadium.
Last season though saw Potter guide the Seagulls to their best-ever top-flight finish of ninth place and five points off a top-seven finish, before a strong start to the current season meant that he left with Brighton sat fourth following his final match in charge – a 5-2 home win over Leicester.
Potter’s first match as Chelsea manager will see the Blues visit Fulham at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Saturday 10 September, live on BT Sport who will then air his first home match as Chelsea host Red Bull Salzburg in Champions League on Wednesday 14 September.
Brighton Chairman, Tony Bloom has admitted that he feels “very disappointed” to see Potter depart the AMEX Stadium after three years at the club, having done “exceptionally well” as he hailed the ex Ostersunds FK boss as “an exceptional head coach and an exceptional person.”
On Potter’s impact at the Seagulls, Bloom is already excited for the future and building upon the laid foundations, as he commented: “He leaves an excellent legacy for his successor with the club in its highest ever position, and on the back of leading us to our highest finish in the club’s history last season”
Bloom confirmed that Andrew Crofts will step up as interim Head Coach for Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth ahead of a three-week break, after their M23 derby against Crystal Palace was postponed due to rail strikes followed by an international break.