Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of Graham Potter as their new head coach.
Potter has signed a five-year deal and will take over Saturday’s trip to Fulham after agreeing to succeed Thomas Tuchel.
“I’m incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this amazing football club,” said Potter.
“I am very excited to be working with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and developing a team and a culture that our amazing fans can be proud of.
“I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Brighton & Hove Albion for giving me this opportunity and in particular to Tony Bloom and all the players, staff and supporters for their continued support throughout my time at the club.”
Chelsea quickly moved to land Potter after he called the time for Tuchel’s reign on Wednesday morning.
Graham Potter has been appointed as Chelsea manager to replace the sacked Thomas Tuchel
Chelsea quickly moved to land Brighton boss Potter after he called Thomas Tuchel’s term of office
Potter quickly emerged as Chelsea’s clear first choice, with former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino among those also under consideration.
However, the speed at which the process was taking place convinced some in Brighton of that fact and that Potter had been in Chelsea’s sights for some time.
Potter impressed in talks with co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali on Wednesday after he was given permission to speak to Chelsea earlier in the day after they agreed to pay his £15million release clause.
Potter impressed in conversations with co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali
And negotiations were completed on Thursday to make the 47-year-old the first manager in the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital era at Chelsea.
Potter is expected to bring a number of Brighton staff to Stamford Bridge with him, including coaches Bjorn Hamberg and Billy Reid, and assistant recruiting chief Kyle Macaulay.
After saying goodbye to players and staff at the Brighton training ground who were saddened by his departure on Thursday morning, he arrived at Chelsea in the afternoon.
Brighton’s assistant, Billy Reid, will be among the staff who will follow Potter to Chelsea
Potter will attend Chelsea training for the first time on Friday.
“We’re thrilled to bring Graham to Chelsea,” said Boehly. “He is a proven coach and 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 abilities that go beyond the pitch and will make Chelsea a more successful club. He had a huge impact on his previous clubs and we look forward to his positive impact at Chelsea. We look forward to supporting him, his coaching staff and the squad to reach their full potential in the months and years to come.”
While Tuchel only lasted 100 days, Potter is someone Chelsea owners plan with for the long term 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 added to Potter’s appeal.
Potter has done this in his previous jobs at Ostersunds and Swansea and has continued this trend at Brighton.
Potter was spotted at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground on Thursday afternoon
He was appointed as Brighton head coach in May 2019 after they finished that season in 17th place.
He has led them to 15th, 16th and ninth, leaving them in fourth after introducing a flashy style of play and is in a healthy financial position after improving a number of players to as the Seagulls could bank considerable sums of money 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 £62million last month.
Potter is reunited with Marc Cucurella, who left Brighton for £62m last month
Yves Bissouma, Dan Burn and Ben White are among others who have moved on to great profit after their prime under Potter.
Potter has received assurances that he will take the time to make things work at Chelsea in line with the contract, which runs until 2027.
U21 manager Andrew Crofts will take over as interim head coach at Brighton following Potter’s departure. He will be joined by his assistant Shannon Ruth, set pieces coach Nick Stanley, Adam Lallana and assistant goalkeeping coach Jack Stern.
Brighton leader Tony Bloom said he was “very disappointed that Graham is leaving us”.
He’s done exceptionally well over the last three and a half seasons, he’s an exceptional head coach and an exceptional person,” Bloom said.
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom has admitted he is “very disappointed” to see Potter go
“He will be greatly missed at our football club.
“He leaves his successor with an excellent legacy with the club in their highest ever position and having guided us to our highest result in club history last season.
GRAHAM POTTER’S BRIGHTON RECORD
Games played: 134
Goals scored: 161
Goals conceded: 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 best in the future.”
Chelsea are sixth in the Premier League and have had a miserable start to the Champions League. Tuchel was sacked hours after the humiliating 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb, his 100th game on Tuesday night.
Tuchel’s coaching staff, meanwhile, will continue to mentor the team with a game against west London rivals Fulham on Saturday.
Sportsmail have revealed that Chelsea’s sacking of 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 top earners in the Premier League with an annual salary of around £13million.
Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane were also candidates on Chelsea’s shortlist for a new manager as co-owner Todd Boehly looks to make his mark on the club with his first appointment.