Chelsea have reached a verbal agreement with Brighton manager Graham Potter to replace Thomas Tuchel as their next head coach.
Tuchel was sacked on Wednesday following Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat by Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and just six games into the new Premier League season.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly met Potter in central London on Wednesday afternoon for what were described as “positive talks” about the Brighton manager’s future role at Stamford Bridge and the club’s plans to develop the entire football operation.
Those discussions continued early Thursday morning, focusing on the legal details of his contract and the personnel of Potter’s rejection.
No contracts have yet been signed, but both sides have reached a verbal agreement over the 47-year-old taking over at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea made it clear they were prepared to meet Brighton’s exit clause for Potter.
Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane, both out of work, as well as Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim, were also on Chelsea’s radar.
Potter will become the first managerial appointment of the Boehly era after taking over in the summer. The American continues to act as sporting director after taking over from director Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck and technical and performance adviser Petr Cech in a complete overhaul of Roman Abramovich’s trusted staff.
Carragher: I’m scared for Potter
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher:
“It’s a very ruthless club and I’m not sure about that [Graham Potter] is the right one: maybe Chelsea are saying they want to do things differently in the future in terms of having a manager in charge instead of a manager or that they do things behind the scenes differently. But if I were Graham Potter, I’d have a hard time believing they’d do things any other way. They just got rid of a coach six games into the season.
“It’s a big step in his managerial career and Chelsea are still one of the best clubs. They’re still world champions right now, but you worry Graham Potter is in the same boat as all the other Chelsea managers. The last 10 years, unless he gets results instantly, they’ll get another new manager in 12 months.”
Inside Tuchel’s final day at Chelsea
Tuchel cleared his desk on Wednesday after the brief meeting at 9.30am where he was dismissed and stayed at the training ground with his departing coaching staff to say goodbye.
The German coach, who joined the club in January 2021, wants to take a break before returning to football.
Tuchel is still highly regarded by many at Chelsea for the trophies and leadership he showed in extremely difficult circumstances. At Chelsea, the coronavirus pandemic and the end of the Roman Abramovich era were difficult scenarios – the latter leading to club sanctions, unpaid staff and fears that the club would go out of business.
Tuchel also showed leadership during the acquisition saga, while many key figures such as Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia or Petr Cech announced their departure.
Clubs such as Manchester United and Barcelona were interested in Tuchel last season, but he was always loyal to Chelsea.
Although Chelsea ended up spending a record £278m this summer, there were differences of opinion between the co-owners and Tuchel over some goals and strategy.
For example, the owners were open to the idea of signing Cristiano Ronaldo from United, but Tuchel did not want him.
Meanwhile, Chelsea co-owners Boehly and Behdad Eghbali met with Chelsea players and staff on Wednesday afternoon in Cobham.
They explained what had happened with Tuchel and their vision for the future of the club. Boehly and Eghbali were also at Tuesday’s game in Zagreb.
Upcoming Chelsea matches
September 10: Fulham (A) – start 12.30pm
September 14: Red Bull Salzburg (H) – start 8pm
September 18: Liverpool (H) – start 4.30 p.m
October 1: Crystal Palace (A) – start at 3pm
October 5: AC Milan (H) – start 8pm