Graham Potter has emerged as one of the highest rated young managers in the Premier League following his successes with Brighton in recent seasons.
His success on the south coast has meant he has been linked with a host of top jobs in England, but after being allowed to speak to Chelsea about the vacant managerial position, he could take his chance at his luck at either of them try the biggest clubs in the country.
The former Swansea City manager was appointed after Chris Hughton left the club in 2019 and while there was no immediate upturn in results, there were plenty of signs fans should be optimistic as Potter is in charge of the club.
Brighton boss Graham Potter is Chelsea’s first choice to replace sacked Thomas Tuchel
In his first two seasons at Brighton, he helped the club avoid relegation, finishing 15th and 16th, while developing the club’s playing style and philosophy.
Under Hughton, Brighton appeared like most Premier League newcomers with a decent back line and a familiar style of football that involved playing the ball against an aging Glenn Murray.
But Potter has slowly moved the style of play away from that on the field, turning Brighton into a side comfortable with possession and capable of creating many dangerous chances, a style of football nicknamed ‘Potterball’ by many Brighton fans .
Potter was always able to overcome his critics when things weren’t going 100 percent on the pitch
The club has an impressive training complex at Lancing, which cost £20m to build in 2014 and includes 11 full- and half-size natural and artificial grass pitches and one half-size indoor pitch. This provides the club’s players and staff with gaming opportunities regardless of weather conditions.
This infrastructure helped Potter get the best out of his players, many of whom might not have appeared to be the Premier League’s top ten quality upon his arrival.
While there were times when it looked like Brighton couldn’t hit a barn door, the blueprints of a team capable of challenging further up the Premier League table were there.
Thomas Tuchel has been sacked by Chelsea after their Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb
That was proven last season when things went right under Potter as he led the team to their all-time highest points and a place in club history.
Brighton are 9th on 51 points, achieved with a brilliant 3-1 win over David Moyes’ Europa League semi-finalists West Ham on the final day of the game.
Brighton look set to break that record this season and have gotten off to a brilliant start. Wins over Manchester United, Leeds, West Ham and Leicester City see the Seagulls join the country’s top sides in Champions League spots.
The potential Chelsea manager has propelled Brighton into a top ten contender for the Premier League
Against Manchester United, West Ham and Leicester City, Brighton have not achieved any victories, they were dominant and fully deserved the points and the applause that followed.
One reason Potter can make his team dominate is because of his flexibility with tactics and system throughout a game. The team can start with a back five, but this will change as the game progresses.
Potter will use his full-backs to push the field forward and allow wide forwards to move centrally, like Leandro Trossard. The manager is also happy when his team plays long balls to beat opposing counter-pressing.
This helps the team create chances across the field, whether they’re playing through a team’s midfield or a long ball that a forward like Danny Welbeck can jump onto.
The success Potter has had can hardly be attributed to an overwhelming amount of club investment in the team as they have one of the cheapest squads in the Premier League.
Potter helped Marc Cucurella (right) become one of the Premier League’s best full-backs
Many expected Brighton to inject cash following Ben White’s £50million departure to Arsenal last summer, but instead he was replaced by Dan Burn and Joel Veltman, who were already at the club.
The same was true when Yves Bissouma joined Tottenham for £30million this summer, but youngster Moises Caicedo was ready to step into the Malian’s boots despite only making his Premier League debut towards the end of last season.
The only example of the club directly replacing an outgoing player was the signing of Pervis Estupinan from Villarreal after Marc Cucurella was sold to Chelsea for £62million.
Estupinan, an Ecuador international, has already settled into the side and appears ready to prove himself worthy of Cucurella’s place despite being bought for a fraction of what the Blues paid for the Spaniard.
Potter isn’t afraid to expand the recruiting network to strengthen his side, which can be seen in the club’s recent deals.
Potter was able to find a way to get players to fulfill their potential in Brighton
Potter has found star players outside of the top five leagues like Moises Caicedo (centre).
Caicedo joined Albion from Ecuadorian club Independiente del Valle and is now a regular in the team. Julio Enciso, a young winger, arrived from Paraguayan club Club Libertad and is pushing for a first-team spot, and Simon Adingra arrived from Danish outfit Nordsjaelland but has been loaned out with the intention of integrating him into the squad in the future.
There were the additions of Chelsea player Billy Gilmore on permanent and defender Levi Colwill on loan but these certainly broke the mold of what Brighton traditionally did in the market.
Much like Chelsea, Brighton have capitalized on the loan market under Potter, sending out players to gain more experience before using them in the Premier League.
Potter’s style of play would suit the players currently in the Blues’ squad, who were set to play full-backs under Thomas Tuchel. Another benefit for a club who have just spent close to £300m in a transfer window would be their ability to be both conservative and creative in the transfer market, which could be a refreshing change of pace for the Blues.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly had backed Thomas Tuchel with almost £300million over the summer