Chelsea are in advanced talks with Graham Potter with a view to formally offering him their vacant manager’s job after firing Thomas Tuchel.
All being well, Potter is expected to be in charge in time for Saturday’s clash against Fulham.
The Brighton boss is the man Chelsea’s owners have identified as their first managerial appointment since taking control earlier this year.
Having made a formal approach to Brighton, the Blues were granted permission to discuss the vacancy with Potter.
Those discussions are understood to have been led by Chelsea co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali at a London location on Wednesday afternoon and are understood to have continued into the evening.
While there has been no confirmation of Potter’s appointment, sources are indicating the only way Chelsea would not appoint the ex-Swansea boss is if he decided to turn the role down.
The identification of Potter as Chelsea’s preferred option to replace Tuchel – who will receive as much as £15million in compensation from the Blues after his shock dismissal – has come during a period the club are without a sporting director.
Brighton have given Chelsea permission to discuss their newly vacant managerial position with Graham Potter
Boehly has taken interim charge of that position over the summer, however it is understood the club are now close to appointing someone into the crucial role with sources even suggesting the new man has had some influence on the move for Potter.
Former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards and ex-Tottenham and Southampton recruitment guru Paul Mitchell are among the individuals being considered by Chelsea.
Sources have indicated that Potter is fully open to taking over at Stamford Bridge and that reaching an agreement for him to join Chelsea will be straightforward.
Potter is understood to have a release clause – of at least £12million – in his contract meaning Brighton are powerless to prevent their manager from leaving.
Potter’s Brighton assistant Billy Reid (left) could be among three staff members that the current Seagulls manager brings to Stamford Bridge should he get the role
Former PSG and Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is another favourite for the job
POTTER’S BRIGHTON RECORD
Games played: 134
Goals scored: 161
Goals against: 172
Sportsmail understands the clause could increase according to the number of staff Potter brings with him.
Recruitment analyst Kyle Macaulay and first team coach Billy Reid are among the Brighton staff who are expected to follow Potter to London.
Potter is settled at Brighton, who have started the season excellently.
However, Potter has ambitions of competing in the Champions League, something Chelsea can immediately offer him.
If Chelsea’s move for Potter fails to materialise then Mauricio Pochettino is also viewed as a strong candidate.
Pochettino is a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer meaning he is available for nothing.
It is understood Pochettino is aware of Chelsea’s interest, but Potter’s emergence as the club’s preferred option leaves the Argentine playing a waiting game.
Zinedine Zidane would also be of interest to Chelsea bosses – but he wants to take over from Didier Deschamps as France manager after the World Cup.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly (right) sensationally sacked Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday
Tuchel cut a disconsolate figure as Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday
Tuchel – who turned down approaches from Manchester United and Barcelona during his tenure at Chelsea – was sacked on Wednesday morning just hours after his side’s defeat against Dynamo Zagreb, the club’s third defeat in seven games this season.
But the German’s dismissal comes against a back-drop of difficulties behind the scenes, amid claims from multiple sources that he’d lost the dressing room.
There was also said to be a disconnect between Tuchel and the club’s academy – something Chelsea’s owner were uncomfortable with.
The German is set to receive a pay-out of around £13million after he was sacked by Chelsea
Zinedine Zidane is one of the other names on the potential shortlist for the Chelsea job
In a statement, a Chelsea spokesman said: ‘On behalf of everyone at Chelsea FC, the Club would like to place on record its gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the Club.
‘Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea’s history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here.
‘As the new ownership group reaches 100 days since taking over the Club, and as it continues its hard work to take the club forward, the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.’
Chelsea had decided to sack Tuchel before his side’s humbling 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb
THOMAS TUCHEL’S FINAL INTERVIEW AS CHELSEA BOSS
‘I’m angry with myself and I’m angry with our performance. I’m angry with myself because I did not see it coming.
‘Obviously I was in the wrong movie.
‘I thought that the last game helped us. I thought we showed a reaction in a very difficult moment against West Ham, got the reaction, got the result in the moments when you need a bit of luck in the situation we were in.
‘We had good training sessions, I thought the team was prepared, I thought we know what this is all about. I didn’t see it coming, that’s why I’m angry with myself.
‘There is too much to analyse – I’m a part of it. We’re clearly not there where we need to be and where we can be, so it’s on me it’s on us.
‘At the moment everything is missing.
‘This is a huge underperformance from all of us. It’s not precise enough, not clinical enough, not aggressive enough.
‘It’s not determined enough and not enough as a team and that’s why we lost.
‘It’s for me to find the solution and find the reason why.
‘Obviously [players] are underperforming individually and I don’t really know where this performance comes from.
‘A lack of determination, a lack of hunger and a lack of intensity to do the things we need at the highest level.
‘We are clearly not where we want to be. We expected what we got. It was the same story of the last few games – we start OK for 15-20 minutes but then lacked determination, precision and maybe even lacked the smell of blood.
‘We need to be much better. We are not finished, we are not happy with our results, we are not happy with the way we play in general, but I thought we were on a good way. I’m surprised by this performance.’
Relationships with stars deteriorated, he was unhappy at having such a big say on transfers… and Todd Boehly was ‘not happy taking a “no” on signing Cristiano Ronaldo’: How Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea reign fell in
By Jacob Ranson
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea reign fell apart after his relationships with players deteriorated, frustration over transfer business and not fitting in with the new ownership’s project.
The German has been sacked just three months after the Todd Boehly-led consortium formally completed the takeover of Chelsea.
The Blues suffered an abysmal 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League group-stages last night in his 100th match in charge, which has seen the Blues take action.
It was, however, not to do so much with results and more the fact of deteriorating relationships with star players at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel hit the ground running by winning the Champions League in his first six months
Tuchel also made it clear that he did not enjoy the extra responsibility he was given in the transfer window after Boehly handed him more power and a greater say on Chelsea’s business.
Not only that, Boehly’s interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo provided an early difference of opinion, with the American reluctant to simply take ‘no’ for an answer from Tuchel, who, according to the Telegraph, seemed exasperated at having to explain his reasons for not wanting the Portuguese superstar.
Crucially, the owners want a coach they can invest in for the future and who they believe is prepared to make an equal commitment.
The first 100 days with Tuchel did not offer enough encouragement that he would relish their style or help create the culture they want to breed.
The German made it clear that he did not enjoy having a say on the club’s transfer business
Co-Owner Todd Boehly was ‘not happy taking a ‘no’ on signing Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured)
The boss recently also reiterated his disappointment that former technical and performance advisor Petr Cech left Stamford Bridge following the takeover.
After the summer rebuild and a poor start to the new season, which sees Chelsea sitting sixth in the Premier League, it has been claimed that Tuchel’s relationship with a number of Chelsea’s squad has deteriorated.
His team selections have caused surprise and, at times, frustration among players who felt they have been unfairly left out or played out of position. That appeared to be evident in Zagreb.
The boss has been bringing players back into from the cold before dropping them again regularly, including wantaway stars Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic.
Ziyech started the defeat to Southampton, despite the fact he had been trying to negotiate a move out of Chelsea, with Pulisic taking his place in the following game against West Ham United.
Ziyech did not look like a man trying to do his head coach any favours when he was thrown on at half-time in Zagreb.
It appears to have been a deeper-rooted issue as the performances have got worse over time and in his last 50 games they have conceded 53 goals, a sign of the breakdown defensively which is hampering their trophy prospects.
Therefore Tuchel’s legacy has drastically collapsed since he arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2021 to replace Frank Lampard, when he hit the ground running by winning the Champions League within his first six months.
Tuchel has often brought players back into the team from the cold, including Hakim Ziyech
Last season Chelsea reached the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals, only to lose to Liverpool on both occasions. They also finished third in the Premier League.
In a bid to bridge the gap to champions Manchester City and Liverpool, Chelsea’s new ownership invested heavily in the summer, a record spend in one window for a Premier League club at more than £260million.
Wesley Fofana arrived from Leicester, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came in from Barcelona, while Raheem Sterling was their marquee first signing from Manchester City.
But Chelsea have made a stuttering start ahead of Saturday’s match against Fulham having already lost three times this season, all away from home at Southampton, Leeds and on Tuesday in Zagreb.
The 49-year-old’s departure will no doubt put pressure on Boehly, given his popularity among the Blues supporters following the 2021 Champions League success.
Tuchel also gained a lot of respect when he became the club’s spokesperson when restrictions were placed on the club, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on former owner Roman Abramovich.