Chelsea chose Graham Potter over Mauricio Pochettino for two reasons

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Chelsea chief Todd Boehly supposedly focused on two attributes when appointing Graham Potter instead of Mauricio Pochettino. The outgoing Brighton boss has big boots to fill after Thomas Tuchel’s departure but the Blues’ hierarchy evidently feel as though he has the right traits to put together a long-term project. 

Tuchel was axed as Chelsea manager following an away defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, although the decision was reportedly made before the game kicked off. The timing came as a shock to many given that the German played an instrumental role in a world-record transfer spend over the summer window. 

It appears as though the relationship between Tuchel and his players, as well as with the board had broken down by the time he was given his marching orders. A deflated post-match interview in Zagreb signalled the beginning of the end for the Champions League-winning manager, although not many expected the call to come so soon. 

Potter was quickly thrust to the top of Boehly’s wish list and, with a release clause in his Brighton contract, the Seagulls didn’t stand in his way. 

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Although Chelsea have discussed other managers, such as Ruben Amorim, as a matter of due diligence, Potter’s appointment never appeared in doubt and he returned to Brighton on Thursday to bid farewell to the players. Pochettino was also in contention having been axed as Paris Saint-Germain boss in July, but Potter held the upper hand for two distinct reasons. 

According to CBS Sports, Boehly looked favourably upon the 47-year-old’s history of improving players and his ability to work with a sporting director. The Chelsea co-owner took charge of transfer negotiations during the summer but has reportedly assured Potter that a new transfer chief is set to be appointed in due course. 

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The Blues have a collection of young stars in the making that they hope Potter can bring the best out of. Alongside youth products such as Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja, Chelsea splashed out on several teenage recruits over the summer including Carney Chukwuemeka, Cesare Casadei and Gabriel Slonina. 

Pochettino is still waiting for his return to management, and potentially the Premier League having left Tottenham in 2019 after a superb five-year stint as boss. Potter reportedly came highly recommended by Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth and has been earmarked by the FA as a future England boss. 

“Every managerial appointment is a risk,” ex-Chelsea defender Jason Cundy told talkSPORT. “For me, I would go straight for Potter. I’ve seen what he’s done. He gets good players and turns them into brilliant footballers. Look what he did to [Marc] Cucurella. He hasn’t been the same player since going to Chelsea. 

“He came to Ostersunds and saw what he did. They beat Arsenal 2-1. He does have European experience and he can go on the big stage and take on big opponents. Brighton saw exactly what they wanted and they took him from Swansea and he’s adapted since.”

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