When Chelsea appointed Graham Potter in November of 2022, a lot was expected of the former Brighton man. Factoring how and the extent club owner Todd Boehly went all out to get his man – paying for the 47-year-old tactician and his backroom staff €25 million to Brighton and Hove Albion, nothing short of magic was expected of the English manager.
A few even pegged their expectation at some exorbitant level – one which would only be feasible for the main character in the award-winning films based on J.K Rowling’s novels Harry Potter. Not minding the fact that through the franchise, Harry Potter’s success relied on magic to propel him forward.
Away from magic and back to reality, things did get off to the best of starts for the new man in charge for the former Ostersund manager, as he rallied to five consecutive victories in his first six games in charge of Chelsea. A breath of fresh air it was. A new Sheriff had arrived, the perfect Chef with just the unadulterated recipe to coast Chelsea all the way to success was aboard the “blue ship” in West London. But just as things appeared to begin to fall in place for Potter at the helm of affairs in Chelsea, he was greeted with a run of inconsistent results, which started with a Saturday, October 29th trip to the Ammex Stadium – his former stomping ground. A 4-1 defeat marred by two own-goals, marked the beginning of what eventually was a tumultuous run of form for Graham Potter and Chelsea.
The next 18 games for the once-adored Messiah saw him record just three wins. Despite owner Todd Boely’s eye-watering £320 million ($387m) spending spree in January, Potter could do little to salvage his ailing situation.
Caught an isolated figure, the defeat to city rivals Tottenham didn’t help Potter’s fate. The clamour for change had begun. The rumours had begun to spread despite the report of Chairman Todd Boehly backing the struggling manager.
It appeared the reassurance from the board was what Graham Potter needed as Chelsea went on a trot. Three straight wins including the much-needed win against Borussia Dortmund which ensured Chelsea secure a spot in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League. Sadly, there was a sudden capitulation of what looked like a ship with bearing.
After a disrupting 0-2 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa and overall Potter recording just 5 wins in the Premier League since his appointment, the chasing shadows of a sack reappeared, and this time it stayed. Club owner Toed Boehly called time on the torrential reign. After 206 days and 31 games, it was finally over. Quite a run it was – one which many Chelsea faithful would have hoped ended earlier.
While many will have sympathy with the manner in which Potter was sacked, there's also no doubt that Chelsea simply weren't performing on the pitch to the level that was required of them. And when we look at Potter's stats at Stamford Bridge that makes it clear for all to see. Potter’s record at Chelsea points to a rather dismal average of just 1.42 points per game in all competitions with the club. Not only is that a sizable 29% drop from Thomas Tuchel’s average of 2.07 points per game, but it’s also the worst record for a Chelsea manager over the course of the past 10 years at the club. In fact, the last manager to have a record as poor as that was Glenn Hoddle, who coached the club between July 1993 and June 1996.
A quick look at the PPG (Point per Game) of the previous five Chelsea managers that managed a minimum 30 games further gives credence to the action taken by the Chelsea management.
Though Frank Lampard has been recently appointed on an interim basis till the end of the season, the hunt for a long-term successor to Graham Potter continues.
Drawing up a short list, we take a look at the possible replacements for the former Chelsea boss.
JULIAN NAGELSMANN (GERMANY)
A name available on the market to the surprise of many Bayern Munich and the young manager parted ways last month with the club lying second in the Bundesliga, a point behind rival Borussia Dortmund and in the Champions League quarterfinals, replacing him with former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel. Nagelsmann, 35, led the Bavarians to their 10th straight Bundesliga title after taking over in 2021. He has previously managed RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim.
LUIS ENRIQUE (SPAIN)
Luis Enrique left his role as Spain’s coach after their disappointing World Cup last 16 exit to Morocco in December. His Spain side previously impressed at the 2020 European Championship, losing on penalties to eventual champions Italy in the semifinals.
The 52-year-old, who has not managed a club in nearly six years, won the Champions League with Barcelona in his first season as part of a treble and later added another La Liga title and two Copa Del Rey trophies.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO (ARGENTINA)
Former Tottenham manager Pochettino, tipped for a return to north London, was linked with Chelsea after Tuchel was sacked and has again emerged as one of the early frontrunners for the vacant managerial role at Stamford Bridge. The 51-year-old has been out of work since a stint at Paris St Germain, where he won last season's Ligue 1 title. He led Spurs to the 2019 Champions League final and two top-three finishes in the Premier League within the period 2015 - 2017.
ZINEDINE ZIDANE (FRANCE)
The former Real Madrid coach and Balon Dor winner, has spent nearly two years without a club since he left Real Madrid after his second spell in charge at the end of the 2020-21 season following their first trophyless season in 11 years.
A World Cup winner with France and a national icon, Zidane won three Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles among other domestic honours in five years across two decorated stints at Real. He has been linked with the managerial role of many top clubs in Europe and unsurprisingly it is to see his name appear on the list of likely replacements for Graham Potter.