Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of Graham Potter as their new head coach.
Potter has signed a five-year deal and will take charge of Saturday’s trip to Fulham after agreeing to succeed Thomas Tuchel.
‘I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club,’ 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.
‘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.’
Chelsea moved swiftly to land Potter after calling time on Tuchel’s reign on Wednesday morning.
Graham Potter has been appointed as the Chelsea manager to replace sacked Thomas Tuchel
Chelsea moved swiftly to land Brighton boss Potter after calling time on Thomas Tuchel’s reign
Potter quickly emerged as Chelsea’s clear first choice with former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino among the managers also considered.
The speed at which the process moved, though, convinced some at Brighton of that fact and that Potter had been in Chelsea’s sights for some time.
Potter impressed in talks with co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali on Wednesday having been given permission to talk to Chelsea earlier in the day after they agreed to pay his £15m release clause.
Potter impressed in talks with co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali
And negotiations were finalised on Thursday to make the 47 year-old the first managerial appointment of Chelsea’s Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital era.
Potter is expected to bring a number of members of his Brighton staff with him to Stamford Bridge, including coaches Bjorn Hamberg and Billy Reid plus assistant recruitment chief Kyle Macaulay.
After saying his farewells at Brighton’s training ground to players and staff left saddened by his departure on Thursday morning he arrived at Chelsea’s in the afternoon.
Brighton assistant Billy Reid is set to be among the staff members to follow Potter to Chelsea
Potter will take Chelsea training for the first time on Friday.
‘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.’
While Tuchel lasted just 100 days, Potter is someone Chelsea’s owners are planning for the long-term with and believe is a better fit for them and their vision for the club.
They also wanted to appoint a coach with a track record of developing a team and improving young players which contributed to Potter’s appeal.
Potter has done that in his previous jobs at Ostersunds and Swansea and continued that trend at Brighton.
Potter was spotted arriving at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground on Thursday afternoon
He was appointed Brighton head coach in May 2019 after they finished that season 17th.
He has led them to 15th, 16th and ninth place finishes and leaves them in fourth place, having introduced an eye-catching style of play and in a healthy financial position after improving a string of players to the extent that the Seagulls have been able to bank significant sums for them.
He will be reunited with one of them at Chelsea in left-back Marc Cucurella who moved to London after a year under Potter at Brighton in a deal worth up to £62m last month.
Potter will be reunited with Marc Cucurella who left Brighton for Chelsea for £62m last month
Yves Bissouma, Dan Burn and Ben White are among others that have moved on for big profit after flourishing under Potter.
Potter has received assurances that he will given the time to make things work at Chelsea in line with the contract that runs until 2027.
Under-21 coach Andrew Crofts will take on the role of interim head coach at Brighton following Potter’s departure. He will be supported by his assistant Shannon Ruth, set-play coach Nick Stanley, Adam Lallana and assistant goalkeeping coach Jack Stern.
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom said he was ‘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,’ Bloom said.
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom has admitted he is ‘very disappointed’ to see Potter leave
‘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.
GRAHAM POTTER’S BRIGHTON RECORD
Games played: 134
Goals scored: 161
Goals against: 172
Points per game: 1.28
‘I would like to thank Graham, Billy, Bjorn, Bruno, Ben and Kyle for their work here, and wish them all the very best for the future.’
Chelsea are sixth in the Premier League and have made a miserable start to their Champions League campaign, with Tuchel disposed of hours after their humbling 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb, his 100th match in charge on Tuesday evening.
Tuchel’s coaching staff will continue to take charge of the team in the interim with a match against west London rivals Fulham on Saturday.
Sportsmail has revealed that Chelsea sacking Tuchel will cost the club £15m – with £13m going to the German and £2m to his coaching staff.
It is understood that the German was one of the Premier League’s top earners, on a salary in the region of £13m a year.
Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane were also candidates on the Chelsea shortlist for a new manager, as co-owner Todd Boehly looks to make his mark on the club with his first appointment.
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