Todd Boehly's quotes when announcing Graham Potter as Chelsea's new head coach last month said much about his burgeoning reputation.

Having dispensed with the services of one of just two men to bring the Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge in Thomas Tuchel, Boehly described Potter as a "proven innovator in the Premier League", and someone with "skills and capabilities that extend beyond the pitch".

Potter certainly had big shoes to fill, but it has been a case of so far, so good for the Blues boss.

Nine games into his tenure, Potter has yet to suffer defeat, leading Chelsea to fifth place in the Premier League and into the Champions League's last 16 ahead of Saturday's return to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Ahead of Potter's reunion with the Seagulls, Stats Perform reflects on his coaching journey and asks whether his strong start with Chelsea represents a sign of things to come.



From humble beginnings: Potter's stunning journey at Ostersunds

When Potter – whose modest playing career saw him feature in each of the top five tiers of English football – made an unconventional move to Sweden in 2011, few would have expected him to progress quite so rapidly.

Potter was recommended to fourth-tier side Ostersunds by Graeme Jones, then Roberto Martinez's assistant at Swansea City, and they would not regret taking him on. Within seven years, Potter was masterminding Europa League wins against Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin, and most noticeably of all, Arsenal.

Having led the side to three promotions in five seasons, Potter oversaw a Svenska Cupen triumph in 2017, earning the chance to face some of Europe's biggest names.

Ostersunds' 2-1 success at the Emirates Stadium in February 2018 put Potter on the map, despite Arsene Wenger's men triumphing 4-2 on aggregate at the end of their round-of-32 tie. 

Despite his limited resources, Potter became the first English coach to beat the Gunners in a European tie at the Emirates, while Ostersunds were the first Swedish team to win away at an English side since 1995, earning their boss a move to Swansea.

Making waves at Swansea ahead of Brighton move

Swansea were considered one of the Premier League's best-run clubs for much of their seven-year spell among the top flight between 2011 and 2018, but Potter inherited a team unprepared for a promotion challenge following relegation that May.

The Swans allowed several key men to leave in Potter's first transfer window, but the new boss made a big impact: Swansea may have finished nine points adrift of a Championship play-off spot, but a controversial 3-2 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals put him on the radar of Premier League clubs.  

Despite only spending one season in Wales, Potter was key to the development of the likes of Dan James and Joe Rodon, both of whom went on to join top-six clubs. 

When Brighton were in the mood to change their style of play in 2019, Potter's sterling work on a limited budget in Wales put him high on their shortlist.

Seagulls soar to new heights: Potter's Premier League bow

In the 2018-19 season, Chris Hughton's Brighton staved off relegation by two points, scoring a mere 35 league goals across a dull campaign. Potter's subsequent arrival was not universally welcomed, with several pundits highlighting his lack of top-level experience, but he quickly made them eat their words.

Although finishes of 15th and 16th in his first two campaigns may not have demonstrated obvious progress, Potter's ability to implement a progressive style was clear: having averaged 41 per cent possession in Hughton's final season, Brighton averaged 52 per cent the following year. 

The 2021-22 campaign saw Potter conduct some of his finest work to date, presiding over a ninth-place finish while losing just 11 games. Only Liverpool (two), City (three) and Chelsea (six) were beaten on fewer occasions. 

In addition to the top three, only Tottenham and Wolves posted better defensive records than Brighton last term, and their energetic pressing style was demonstrated by the fact only Liverpool and City won possession in the final third more often than the Seagulls.

Brighton saved arguably their finest performance for Potter's final match, scoring five goals in a top-flight game for the first time (in 364 outings) as they hammered Leicester City 5-2.

The Seagulls fell victim to their own success as Potter was lured to Chelsea four days later, and there are signs he has made an impact quickly in London.

Potter shakes off Chelsea blues with unbeaten start

Potter arrived at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea languishing three points behind Brighton in the early-season standings. He will return to the AMEX Stadium boasting a six-point advantage over his former club, but Chelsea was not a happy place when he took over. 

Many fans felt Tuchel deserved more time following his excellent management of last-season's off-pitch troubles, and while an estimated £250million transfer outlay demonstrated Boehly's intent, their recruitment felt muddled and short-sighted.

Take, for instance, the decision to reunite Tuchel with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, spending £10.3m on a 33-year-old striker before changing coach less than a week later.

Potter, however, has made light of any concerns, becoming just the second Englishman to go undefeated through his first nine games in charge of Chelsea.

While Chelsea dropped out of the top four following a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Saturday, the Blues' exceptional European form has seen them wrap up top spot in Group E with a game to spare – a commendable achievement given they failed to win their opening two games.

Potter's willingness to switch between a 4-3-3 shape and the 3-4-3 system favoured by Tuchel has helped him to manage his talent-filled squad, while a return of five clean sheets in nine games demonstrates Chelsea's defensive solidity.

At Brighton, meanwhile, Potter's absence has been keenly felt. While his successor Roberto De Zerbi has earned plaudits for the Seagulls' style, he is yet to oversee a victory in five Premier League games (D2 L3).

Should Potter lead Chelsea to a positive result at his former home, De Zerbi will become just the third coach in Brighton's history to not win any of his first six league matches.

Saturday will represent the earliest date in a Premier League season by which a coach has managed for and against the same club. If the teams' contrasting runs of form are anything to go by, it may come far too soon for Brighton.

At Stamford Bridge, meanwhile, things appear to be looking up, and Potter's meteoric rise may be far from over.

Joao Felix is increasingly frustrated with life at Atletico Madrid after dropping out of the starting XI in recent games.

The 22-year-old Portuguese is yet to score for the side in LaLiga or the Champions League this season and was an unused substitute in the midweek 0-0 draw with Club Brugge.

Atleti boss Diego Simeone has preferred Antoine Griezmann, Alvaro Morata, Matheus Cunha and Angel Correa in attack recently.

 

TOP STORY – JOAO FELIX WANTS ATLETICO EXIT

Joao Felix has requested to leave Atletico Madrid in January, reports Fichajes.

The forward is frustrated that he has been used sparingly, largely outside the starting XI this term.

Joao Felix's contract runs until 2026 and it will likely require a hefty fee to sign him from Atleti, who paid €126 million for him in 2019.

Relevo claims that Atleti are not considering selling the Portuguese any time soon.

 

ROUND-UP

– ​ Frenkie de Jong is growing frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities at Barcelona and will look to exit the club in January should the situation not improve, claims SPORT. De Jong was at the centre of a drawn-out off-season saga, amid links to Manchester United.

Granit Xhaka will earn a contract extension at Arsenal, reports Football Insider. Xhaka, who is out of contract in 2024, has been in top form this term and will be rewarded after the World Cup.

Chelsea have an interest in RB Leipzig's Austria international midfielder Konrad Laimer, reports Bild. Laimer is out of contract at the end of this season and the Blues will look to sign him for free if he is not sold in January.

Chelsea along with Arsenal are now also keen on pursuing Rennes winger Jeremy Doku, claims Fichajes. The 20-year-old is already being chased by Liverpool, Napoli and Juventus.

– Bild also claims Chelsea are monitoring versatile Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard.

– The Telegraph reports Thomas Tuchel is interested in the England managerial role should Gareth Southgate depart after this year's World Cup. The German has reportedly declined two Premier League jobs since leaving Chelsea last month.

Chelsea's admiration of 23-year-old Milan forward Rafael Leao is not a secret.

The Blues, along with several other clubs including Manchester City, are keen on the Portuguese.

Chelsea have also been linked with Christopher Nkunku in recent days but are plotting ways to land Rafael Leao too.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND MILAN PLOTTING SWAP DEAL

Chelsea and Milan are considering a swap deal whereby Rafael Leao would join the Blues, claims Calciomercato.

Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi would be part of the deal, although the Italian champions would still demand a £90million fee for the Portuguese.

According to the report, Milan will use their Champions League game on Wednesday against the Blues at Stamford Bridge to talk with Pulisic, along with Trevoh Chalobah.

ROUND-UP

– 90min claims that West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is top of Chelsea's transfer wish list. The Hammers slapped a £120m price tag on the England international in the off-season, although that will likely drop as the length of his contract shortens.

– Football Insider claims Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle with 21-year-old winger Bukayo Saka on a new contract. Saka's current deal expires in 2024.

Everton are eager to use the option-to-buy trigger in Conor Coady's loan deal from Wolves, claims The Times. Coady would cost the Toffees less than £10m.

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper could be sacked by owner Evangelos Marinakis, according to The Mail, with The Guardian linking Rafael Benitez with the role along with ex-Burnely boss Sean Dyche.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that former Inter and Lazio midfielder and Red Star boss Dejan Stankovic has reached a full agreement with Sampdoria to become the Italian Serie A club's new manager to replace the sacked Marco Giampaolo.

Jose Mourinho is set to be offered a new contract by Roma, potentially keeping him in the Italian capital until 2026, reports La Repubblica.

– Sport1 claims ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has declined the opportunity to take over at Bayer Leverkusen amid their poor start to the season.

Real Madrid were among the contenders chasing Erling Haaland's signature over the off-season.

Los Blancos, along with Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, were keen on the former Borussia Dortmund forward.

Ultimately, the Norwegian decided to join Manchester City, starting on fire with 14 goals in 10 games in all competitions, but Madrid are keeping an eye on him.

TOP STORY – MADRID PLANNING LONG-TERM MOVES FOR CITY DUO

Spanish giants Real Madrid are plotting moves to sign Manchester City pair Joao Cancelo and Erling Haaland, reports AS.

Madrid will attempt to sign the 28-year-old Portuguese full-back in mid-2023, with Cancelo contracted until 2027, although the report claims he will cost around €40-50million (£35-44m).

The Spanish champions are planning a swoop for Haaland but not until 2024, with Karim Benzema in the twilight of his career.

Haaland reportedly has a termination clause in his City contract worth €180m (£158m) up until 2024.

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Star reports that Manchester United and David De Gea are set for key talks on his future, with the goalkeeper's contract expiring in mid-2023. United hold an option to extend his stay.

Manchester United may struggle in their bid to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, with the Villans to turn down any offer for him in January, claims Football Insider.

Barcelona are keen to sign Wolves 25-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves as a long-term replacement for 34-year-old Sergio Busquets, reports Sport. Neves will be the Blaugrana's top target at the end of this season.

Gerard Pique is not interested in joining Atletico Madrid in January, claims Sport. The defender has fallen out of favour at Barcelona, but he is determined to fight for his spot.

– Calciomercato claims that Chelsea are interested in Inter wing-back Denzel Dumfries. The Italian club may be willing to part with the Dutchman for approximately £44m.

– Colombian forward Luis Muriel is ready to leave Atalanta, with a move to Fiorentina on the cards, according to Calciomercato.

– PSV striker Cody Gakpo is likely to have more offers in January with Manchester United, Southampton and Everton all still interested, claims Football Transfers.

Thomas Tuchel is Real Madrid 's preferred replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, according to El Nacional. The Italian has told the club he does not intend to manage Madrid beyond this season.

It's 22 days since Graham Potter took over from Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, and yet he's only just about to take charge of his first Premier League match when they go to Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Potter's one game at the helm came in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Salzburg on September 14, with the postponements following Queen Elizabeth II's death and the subsequent international break ultimately making it a fairly quiet introduction to life at Stamford Bridge.

But with 13 matches across all competitions to fit into the next seven weeks before top-flight football pauses for the World Cup, Potter can ill afford to not inspire some momentum.

Arguably Chelsea's chief problem in the early weeks of the season was a lack of goals, scoring more than once in just three games, and on each occasion they never managed more than two goals.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's arrival at the end of the transfer window was seen as a welcome relief, particularly given how effective he'd been under Tuchel in the past.

Well, that reunion didn't last long, but Potter knows Aubameyang could be the key to kick-starting their season.
 

A player with baggage

Any concerns Chelsea fans might have about Aubameyang will likely revolve around his attitude and professionalism – few will have forgotten the circumstances that led to his Arsenal exit.

But for those who have, here's the overview.

Last March he was dropped ahead of the north London derby due to a disciplinary issue, perhaps something you wouldn't expect of the club captain – although he was "reminded of his responsibilities" a month earlier after reportedly flouting COVID-19 restrictions to get a tattoo.

Either way, Mikel Arteta continued to give him the benefit of the doubt until another breach of club rules in December was essentially the end of his stay with the Gunners.

Arteta excluded him from the team, ended his reign as captain and made his stance on the player crystal clear when allowing Aubameyang to join up with the Gabon squad early ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The fact many coaches and managers routinely bemoan the timing of the AFCON should highlight how unusual – damning, even – this was.

On February 1, Arsenal confirmed Aubameyang had left the club by mutual consent, paving the way for him to join Barcelona – talk about failing upwards.

"I am living the dream," he said in a Guardian interview published two days later.

In the same interview, Aubameyang suggested Arteta was the only person to have an issue with his conduct. Perhaps he'd still be at Arsenal were it not for his tardiness in December.
 

A point to prove

He is back in London, however. Aubameyang's stay in Barcelona was little more than a sojourn.

After joining them officially in February, he must've been aware there was always a chance Barca could look to cash in on him quite quickly if the opportunity arose.

President Joan Laporta was desperately trying to raise cash in order to register their swathe of pre-season signings, and the combination of Aubameyang retaining decent market value and being on high wages made him a very sellable option on their part, they just needed someone to come calling.

Given his rather scattergun approach to being an interim sporting director, new Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly probably should've been the obvious candidate, though Aubameyang's links to Tuchel helped the deal make sense.

What made slightly less sense was the fact Boehly sacked Tuchel only a week after Aubameyang signed. Granted, the German isn't the only coach who'd be able to get a tune out of the forward, but you have to wonder what the player was thinking.

Tuchel's familiarity with Aubameyang from their time together at Borussia Dortmund was evident in how he spoke of the 33-year-old shortly after the signing was confirmed.

He said: "Auba, from my point of view, has always been happy to fight for something and to accept the challenge, so the more challenges he has the better it is.

"I know him as [being] very focused and in general a person with a very open heart and very happy to be on the pitch every day. This is what we wanted, he's a very positive influence on the training group.

"He's up for any challenge, he's happy to be on the pitch to score goals and this is what we want."

The "challenge" Tuchel was initially referring to was ending the so-called number nine curse at Chelsea, though it could now extend to winning over a new coach.
 

A striker out of left field

One of the first things Aubameyang highlighted after joining Barcelona was how Xavi said he'd been earmarked to play specifically as a number nine.

Let's not forget, he spent a great deal of his time at Arsenal operating from the left, and for the most part he was effective there. Yet, you could argue his finishing abilities weren't maximised in that position.

Between the 2015-16 and 2020-21 seasons, Aubameyang averaged at least 0.7 goals per 90 minutes every campaign for Dortmund and then Arsenal, bettering or matching his expected goals (xG, per 90 mins.) in all but one season. Even then, the one term he fell short, he was still scoring at a rate of 0.8 every 90 minutes. Over the short term, one might suggest outperforming xG is a sign of luck, but over a prolonged period it is surely a product of quality.

Aubameyang certainly cannot be accused of being ineffective as a central striker for Barca. His average of 0.8 non-penalty goals per 90 minutes was his best record since 2016-17 (0.8), and he helped Barca enjoy a fine second half of the season to eventually finish runners-up in LaLiga.

His form for Arsenal had been less convincing before his departure. He'd scored only four league goals from 6.6 xG – a comparison of his shot maps last term does show much greater localisation to the centre of the area while at Barca, perhaps understandable given his use as a number nine, though that doesn't completely explain why he underperformed in relation to xG while still at Arsenal.

Aubameyang will hope that spell with Barcelona was something of a palate cleanser. He said himself he has unfinished business in the Premier League.

Uncertainty and intrigue definitely surround his move to Chelsea given Tuchel is no longer there, but if Aubameyang does return to silence his critics then there's every reason to suggest Potter will hit the ground running as well.

Jules Kounde opted to join Barcelona over Chelsea as he "preferred Xavi's speech" to Thomas Tuchel's.

The France international had looked set to sign for Chelsea during the most recent transfer window, only to put pen to paper on a five-year deal at Camp Nou.

Sevilla director of football Monchi suggested at the time that Barca pounced for Kounde after Chelsea had withdrawn their offer due to "having doubts".

However, in an interview with French outlet L'Equipe, Kounde insisted the decision was his own after being wooed by Barca head coach Xavi.

"First, I have come to a huge club, which has known good times and which, lately, has had less," he said.

"I come to a project that I would not call reconstruction, because we already have a competitive team, but rather, being upturned.

"I was interested in being part of this new wave, in search of titles, and to put Barca back where it has always been, among the best clubs. 

"Then there was the conversation with the coach. We talked about football. I felt a real confidence from him, that he had a real knowledge of myself, my game and my qualities.

"I spoke with Tuchel and I also felt that he wanted me to come, but I simply preferred Xavi's speech."

Chelsea have made a slow start to the 2022-23 season and recently brought an end to Tuchel's 20-month tenure.

Despite their high-profile financial issues, meanwhile, Barca have made a strong start to their campaign and are two points off LaLiga leaders Real Madrid after six matches.

Kounde was registered by Barcelona at the end of August, a month after joining, and has helped the Catalan giants to four clean sheets in his five appearances.

Indeed, the five clean sheets Barca have kept in their opening six league matches is a tally they did not reach until 21 games played last season.

And Kounde, one of two defenders alongside team-mate Alejandro Balde to have provided two assists in a single LaLiga match this term, believes he is well suited to Xavi's style.

"When I talked to Xavi he told me that my qualities correspond to his game plan, starting from the back, playing high, using my qualities of speed and anticipation," Kounde said. 

"He also wants an aggressive team – we are one of the teams that presses high.

"He saw me in this system and I too saw myself in this team that I saw make a pretty crazy rise in the table last season. 

"With Sevilla we were 15 points ahead of them in the middle of the season. Xavi arrived and I saw the changes he made and what direction he was going in. I liked it."

Kepa Arrizabalaga has vowed to seize the chance of a "fresh start" at Chelsea after the appointment of Graham Potter.

The Spanish goalkeeper was dislodged as Chelsea's first choice by Edouard Mendy when the Senegal international joined from Rennes in September 2020, and he has played a bit-part in the first team ever since.

Kepa played just 15 games last season, including two appearances as a substitute, but posted an impressive save percentage of 80.8, with Mendy managing just 70.8 per cent in his 49 games.

Mendy began this season as Thomas Tuchel's preferred choice between the sticks, but the sacking of the German head coach and subsequent appointment of Potter may mean there is a clean slate.

Now Kepa is hoping there is a chance for him to assert himself as a contender to keep the jersey, after playing in back-to-back Champions League games due to Mendy being injured.

"Last season, when I played I felt really well, but it was just 15 games or something like this," Kepa said, quoted on Chelsea's website. "It's not a big amount, so now when I have the opportunity, I try to do my best and to help the team like I do in the last games.

"I'm happy with my performances and happy again to enjoy the Champions League games on the pitch, so it's a fresh start, and I'm happy, and I will take it."

Chelsea have begun their European campaign with a 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb, followed by a home 1-1 draw with Salzburg in Potter's first game, so results could be better.

The Salzburg result on Wednesday was a blow, given Chelsea led their Austrian visitors but were pegged back by a Noah Okafor equaliser.

"There is frustration a little bit because we drew when we needed these points," Kepa said, "but we are improving, and it's just the beginning."

The arrival of Potter from Brighton and Hove Albion has come at a time when Chelsea's Premier League campaign has been put on hold, with fixtures against Fulham and Liverpool postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It means the head coach must wait for his first league game at the helm, which should come at Crystal Palace on October 1. In the meantime, Potter is working behind the scenes on trying to lift the team.

Kepa said: "He is very positive in his mind, and he tries to give us this positivity. It's been two or three training sessions with the new manager, so it's just the beginning, but it's been a positive beginning and a good point to start."

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho says the dismissal of Thomas Tuchel came as a "surprise", revealing the Blues' players feel partly responsible for his exit.

The German coach was axed last week in the aftermath of a surprise defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, which followed on from Premier League losses against Southampton and Leeds United during an underwhelming start to the season.

Chelsea moved quickly to appoint Graham Potter as Tuchel's successor at Stamford Bridge, with their first game under his guidance coming on Wednesday against Salzburg.

With last week's Premier League action postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Tuesday's pre-match news conference represented the first opportunity for questions on the managerial change.

Jorginho conceded it is something he has become accustomed to, with Potter the fourth Chelsea boss he has worked under, but says he was caught off guard by the latest switch.

"It's happening a lot, as everyone knows. We're adapting to the new coach, we're very excited to work with him and his staff. It's been quite good the first few days," he said.

"Of course, we had a great time with Thomas, we appreciate everything he did for us, for the club, for the fans, now we have a new challenge to look forward to and we're very excited.

"It was a surprise for everyone. What has been said between the players will stay there, sorry.

"There's always talking around what has happened, but now we have games coming and life is quick, so we don't have much time to stay and think. We need to concentrate on what we need to do."

Jorginho was then asked about Tuchel's repeated criticism of the team in the build-up to his departure, and the midfielder admitted there is work to do.

"It was his feeling, he said that to us as well. We tried to do what we could, we tried to do our best, it's what we do," he added.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't working anymore and the challenge now is to rebuild the confidence because Chelsea are a big club, we have a lot of work to do and to do that we need to work with everyone moving in the same direction.

"Of course, we feel responsible, we were a team, it's not one person who is responsible for what happened, everyone is responsible."

Thomas Tuchel was left "devastated" by his Chelsea dismissal, as he thanked the club's players and fans for their support in a heartfelt social media post on Sunday.

Chelsea sacked Tuchel in the aftermath of a 1-0 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday, announcing Brighton and Hove Albion's Graham Potter as his successor the following day.

Tuchel led Chelsea to Champions League glory just four months after his January 2021 appointment. He then added the Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies last season, as well as overseeing penalty shoot-out defeats to Liverpool in both of the EFL and FA Cup last season

Despite outspending every other Premier League club in the recent transfer window, however, Chelsea took just 10 points from their opening six games of the new Premier League season, prompting the club's new owners – led by Todd Boehly – to make a change.

Tuchel has now expressed his regret at lasting less than two years in the Stamford Bridge dugout, writing on Twitter: "This is one of the most difficult statements I have ever had to write - and it is one which I hoped I would not need to do for many years. 

"I am devastated that my time at Chelsea has come to an end.

"This is a club where I felt at home, both professionally and personally. Thank you so much to all the staff, the players and the supporters for making me feel very welcome from the start.

"The pride and joy I felt at helping the team to win the Champions League and the Club World Cup will stay with me forever. 

"I am honoured to have been a part of this club's history and the memories of the last 19 months will always have a special place in my heart."

Tuchel oversaw 100 games as Chelsea boss in all competitions, winning 60. In the Premier League, meanwhile, only Antonio Conte (68.8) Jose Mourinho (66) and Carlo Ancelotti (63.2) have bettered Tuchel's win rate of 55.6 per cent when leading the Blues for a minimum of 50 matches.

In 589 days in charge of Chelsea, Tuchel led the club to four major finals (2x FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League) – no coach has taken charge of the Blues in more finals, with Mourinho also leading them to four.

Chelsea also kept 49 clean sheets in Tuchel's 100 matches at the helm, the highest tally among Premier League clubs during that time (in all competitions).

For all his early successes, however, Tuchel oversaw a noticeable decline in the second half of his tenure.

In all competitions, Tuchel's first 50 games yielded 32 victories, 11 draws and seven defeats, with just 24 goals conceded. In the subsequent 50, Chelsea managed fewer wins (28) and over double the amount of goals conceded (53).

Chelsea have reportedly held an emergency call with new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to reassure him of his future with the club after Thomas Tuchel's surprise sacking.

Tuchel was removed from his position after Chelsea's 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener, in a move that will carry a heavy financial cost, according to reports from the Daily Mail and The Mirror.

Tuchel and his backroom staff are said to be receiving £15million in pay-outs, and Brighton are set to claim £20m in compensation after Graham Potter took over.

One of the main selling points for Aubameyang to come to Stamford Bridge was his relationship with Tuchel, who had coached him at Borussia Dortmund, and the Telegraph claims Chelsea's ownership group went out of their way to reassure the 33-year-old striker about his decision after cutting ties with Tuchel.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA OWNERS REASSURE AUBAMEYANG OF HIS ROLE AFTER TUCHEL FIRING

According to the Telegraph's report, controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Egbali addressed the Chelsea squad on Wednesday after Tuchel's sacking took place that morning, but there was also a separate individual chat with Aubameyang.

They reportedly told the signing from Barcelona that they "believe he can flourish under new head coach Graham Potter", and the Gabon international is said to have no second thoughts about his decision.

While he was clearly a player Tuchel pushed for, Aubameyang was assured he was "a club signing", and the report claims he "is thought to have been appreciative of the explanation".

In his one game for Chelsea under Tuchel, Aubameyang was substituted in the 59th minute.

 

ROUND-UP

– BILD has confirmed once again that Liverpool have their sights set on a massive move for Borussia Dortmund's 19-year-old English midfielder Jude Bellingham in 2023. 

– A report from Sport claims the rise of 18-year-old Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde has complicated the arrival of Marcos Alonso, who was brought in to be the main competition to Jordi Alba, but he is now behind Balde as well.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk wants a move to Arsenal alongside his Ukrainian compatriot Oleksandr Zinchenko, and that it could be possible in January.

– JuveLive claim Juventus are prepared to offer 22-year-old striker Moise Kean to Aston Villa in a straight swap for 24-year-old midfielder Douglas Luiz.

Graham Potter pledged to develop a team Chelsea's fans can be proud of after succeeding Thomas Tuchel as the Blues' head coach on Thursday.

Chairman Todd Boehly made the decision to part company with Tuchel amid an underwhelming start to the new campaign on Wednesday, and has turned to Potter in his search for a replacement.

After leading Brighton and Hove Albion to 13 points from their first six games of the Premier League campaign, Potter has signed a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge

Speaking to the club's website upon his appointment, Potter expressed his excitement at the making the step up while also thanking his former employers. 

"I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club," he 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. 

"I would also like to place my sincere thanks to Brighton and 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."

Brighton expressed their gratitude for Potter's efforts in a statement of their own, with chairman Bloom saying: "I am very disappointed that Graham will be leaving us. 

"He has done exceptionally well over the past three-and-a-bit seasons, he is an exceptional head coach and an exceptional person. He will be hugely missed at our football club. 

"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."

Having overseen Ostersunds' rise from the fourth tier of Swedish football to European qualification in his first coaching role, Potter impressed by leading Championship outfit Swansea City to the FA Cup quarter-finals in a single season in Wales in 2018-19.

Having been appointed as Brighton's head coach in 2019, Potter transformed the Seagulls' style of play and led them to a ninth-placed Premier League finish last term.

Only Manchester City and Liverpool won possession in the final third more often than Brighton among Premier League clubs last season, while only the division's top three (City, Liverpool and Chelsea) recorded fewer than their 11 defeats.

Potter inherits a Chelsea side which was strengthened significantly in the recent transfer window, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among their high-profile additions.

When Graham Potter landed his first managerial role in the fourth tier of Swedish football in January 2011, few would have expected him to be leading one of the Premier League's elite teams within little over a decade.

But after overseeing Brighton and Hove Albion's fine start to the Premier League season, Potter has stepped up to succeed Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea.

It remains to be seen how Potter, a coach with high potential, fares with new owner Todd Boehly but his arrival in west London marks the culmination of one of the most intriguing coaching journeys in recent memory.

From Ostersunds to Chelsea, Potter's rise has been Football Manager-esque.

Here, Stats Perform delves into his coaching career to date and what it could mean for the Blues.

From humble beginnings: The stunning journey at Ostersunds

Having featured prominently for the likes of West Brom, York City and Macclesfield Town during a playing career spent entirely in England, Potter made the unconventional move to Scandinavia in 2011.

Potter, whose previous coaching experience took in roles at the University of Hull and Leeds Metropolitan University, was recommended to Ostersunds by Graeme Jones, then Roberto Martinez's assistant at Swansea.

They would not regret taking him on. Within seven years, Potter was masterminding Europa League wins against Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin, and most noticeably of all, Arsenal.

Having led the side to three promotions in five seasons, Potter oversaw a terrific Svenska Cupen triumph in 2017, earning the chance to face some of Europe's biggest names.

That 2-1 success at the Emirates in February 2018 put Potter on the map, despite Arsene Wenger's men triumphing 4-2 on aggregate at the end of their round-of-32 tie. 

Despite his limited resources, Potter became the first English manager to beat the Gunners in a European tie at the Emirates Stadium, while Ostersunds were the first Swedish team to win away at an English side since 1995, earning him a move to Wales. 

Making waves on the Welsh coast: Reinvigorating Swansea

Swansea City were considered one of the Premier League's best-run clubs for much of their seven-year spell among the top flight between 2011 and 2018.  

But the team inherited by Potter was not built for an immediate promotion challenge following their relegation that May. Having let several key men leave, their biggest outlay in Potter's first transfer window was the £3million signing of Manchester City youngster Bersant Celina.

Potter's men may have finished some nine points adrift of a Championship play-off spot, but a run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, where they suffered a controversial 3-2 defeat to City after going two goals up, put the tactician on the radar of Premier League clubs.  

Despite only enjoying one season in Wales, Potter was key to the early development of the likes of Dan James and Joe Rodon, both of whom went on to join top-six clubs. 

When a Premier League side were in the mood to change their style of play in 2019, Potter's sterling work in Wales put him high on their shortlist.

Seagulls soar to new heights: Potter in the Premier League

In the 2018-19 season, Chris Hughton's Brighton staved off relegation by just two points, scoring a mere 35 league goals across a dull campaign.

Potter's subsequent arrival at the club was not universally welcomed, with several pundits highlighting his lack of experience at the top level, but he quickly made them eat their words.

Although finishes of 15th and 16th in his first two campaigns may not have demonstrated obvious progress, Potter's ability to implement a progressive style was clear: having averaged 41 per cent possession in Hughton's final season, Brighton averaged 52 per cent the following year. 

But the 2021-22 campaign saw Potter conduct some of his finest work to date, masterminding a ninth-place finish while losing only 11 games. Only Liverpool (two), City (three) and Chelsea (six) were beaten on fewer occasions. 

In addition to the top three, only Tottenham and Wolves posted better defensive records than Brighton last term, and their high-press style was demonstrated by the fact only Liverpool and City won possession in the final third more often than the Seagulls.

On Sunday, Brighton's outstanding start to the new season went up a level, as they scored five goals in a top-flight match for the first time (in 364 outings) to blow Leicester City away.

But the Seagulls have now fallen victim to their own successes, with Potter unable to resist the advances of Chelsea.

London calling: Can Potter's methods work at Chelsea?

New owners often like to bring in their own coach upon taking charge of a club and, in that sense, Boehly's decision to dispense with Tuchel makes some sense – though doing so mere days after the end of a busy transfer window has attracted justifiable criticism.

Roman Abramovich's Chelsea tenure was characterised by success in the absence of an on-pitch identity, winning trophy after trophy despite a plethora of coaches, sackings and controversies.

If a more progressive, long-term approach is Boehly's aim, then Potter's past work suggests he could be the perfect man for the job.

Chelsea dismissed Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday following their 1-0 Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

New Blues owner Todd Boehly wielded the axe after a slow start to the 2022-23 season for the London club.

Several names have been linked with the vacant post already, including Mauricio Pochettino and Graham Potter.

TOP STORY – VERBAL AGREEMENT IN PLACE FOR CHELSEA AND POTTER

Chelsea will formally offer their vacant manager role to Brighton and Hove Albion's Graham Potter, according to several UK reports.

Brighton had granted Chelsea permission to speak to Potter, with the two parties locked in talks on Wednesday evening following Thomas Tuchel's dismissal.

Ben Jacobs from CBS Sports claims that a verbal agreement is agreed between Chelsea and Potter, with Sky Sports' Rob Dorsett stating he could be unveiled as their new boss on Thursday.

ROUND-UP

– The Sun claims that Manchester United are ready to open discussions with Marcus Rashford on a new deal. Rashford, who has three goals this season, is contracted until mid-2023.

– The Sun also reports Wilfried Zaha is set to be offered a new deal by Crystal Palace. Zaha, who has been linked with Arsenal and Chelsea, is into the final year of his contract at Selhurst Park.

Juventus are preparing for a straight swap deal in January with Aston Villa, which would see Moise Kean and Douglas Luiz trade places, according to JuveLive. Douglas Luiz's contract at Villa Park expires at the end of this season.

–  Everton and Arsenal both remain interested in Mykhaylo Mudryk but Shakhtar Donetsk want more than £30m (€34.5m) for the 21-year-old Ukrainian winger, claims Gianluca di Marzio.

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's owners "expect me to sort it out" when asked if he feared going the same way as compatriot Thomas Tuchel.

Klopp's fellow German coach was dismissed by Chelsea on Wednesday, with new Blues owner Todd Boehly cutting ties with the former Paris Saint-Germain boss in the wake of Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

That was Tuchel's 100th match in charge of Chelsea in all competitions. In his 18 months at the helm, he guided the Blues to a Champions League success, a Super Cup triumph and Club World Cup glory, as well as three domestic finals.

Chelsea failed to win any of those three domestic finals, with two of them coming as penalty shoot-out losses to Klopp's Liverpool last season.

The Reds, meanwhile, have hardly enjoyed a strong start to the new campaign. A 9-0 hammering of Bournemouth aside, Liverpool have looked a shadow of their best, and were thrashed 4-1 by Napoli in their opening Champions League match on Wednesday.

It was the heaviest defeat suffered by an English side in their Champions League opener since Arsenal lost 3-0 to Inter in 2003, while it also marked Liverpool's joint-worst loss in the competition.

Yet asked if he was worried for his future, Klopp – who has been at Anfield since 2015 – told reporters: "Not really, but who knows? The difference [between us and Chelsea] is we have different kinds of owners.

"Ours are calm and expect me to sort it and not think someone else will."

Klopp has plenty of goodwill in the bank, given the enormous success he has enjoyed at Liverpool, taking the Reds to three Champions League finals, and winning one in 2019, as well as their maiden Premier League title (2020) and winning both of England's domestic cups this year.

Jamie Carragher, who helped Liverpool win the Champions League in 2005, is concerned as to what the immediate future might hold, however.

Carragher, a pundit for CBS Sports, said: "The problem is not that game, forget this game, for me the big worry is that is this almost something that’s going to carry on through the season, is this the end of a cycle, have Liverpool massively got their transfer ideas wrong?

"This team looks so far off it and it has been at full pelt for five or six years under Jurgen Klopp and in seven games Liverpool have played this season, they've conceded the first goal in five, so they're not starting games well.

"I'm not going to criticise their attitude because what this team have done, certainly in Europe, the Premier League – the mentality is fantastic – but is this a massive drop off physically? Can this team get it back, that's the worry for me. What's going to happen in the future for this team?

"This is only the fourth game Liverpool have lost in 2022, it shows how consistent they've been, but the performances, more than the results, are what's worrying me right now."

Brighton and Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister believes Graham Potter sits among the world's elite, saying he would rather not think about his manager's potential move to Chelsea.

Potter has emerged as a frontrunner to succeed Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge following the German's shock dismissal.

He is reportedly set to meet Chelsea owner Todd Boehly on Wednesday.

Since taking charge at Brighton, Potter has overseen a steady period of growth, culminating in last year's best-ever Premier League finish (ninth).

The start of the new campaign has seen Brighton win four of their opening six league matches, taking 13 points in total.

But Mac Allister hopes Potter will stay put, while hailing him as one of finest managerial minds in the sport.

"For sure [he is among the elite coaches in world football], he will be an amazing coach," Mac Allister told Sky Sports.

"Hopefully he will stay here all his life but, at the same time, we know that will maybe be difficult, but he is really important for us as a club.

"I prefer not to think about [life without him] to be honest. Graham is really important for us, and we don't think about the future.

"We think about the present and he is here now, and we know we've got an important game at the weekend. We want the coaching staff to help us win that game."

Asked whether Potter had mentioned Chelsea during a team photograph session earlier on Wednesday, Mac Allister added: "I don't know anything.

"We didn’t speak about any situation. The boss is really important for us, we want him to be here for a long time."

Page 1 of 35
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.