Chelsea top manager choice Graham Potter worked wonders at Brighton through style and policy change

Graham Potter has become one of the most highly rated young managers in the Premier League following his success with Brighton over the past few seasons.

His success at the south-coast side has seen him be linked with a host of top jobs in England, but after being allowed to talk to Chelsea about the vacant managerial role, he could be set for his chance to try his luck at one of the country’s biggest clubs.

The former Swansea City manager was appointed after Chris Hughton left the club in 2019, and despite there not being an immediate upturn in results, there were plenty of signs for fans to be optimistic with Potter in charge of the club.

Brighton boss Graham Potter is Chelsea's first choice to replace the sacked Thomas Tuchel

Brighton boss Graham Potter is Chelsea’s first choice to replace the sacked Thomas Tuchel

In his first two seasons in charge at Brighton, he helped the club avoid relegation with 15th and 16th-placed finishes, all while evolving the style of play and philosophy followed throughout the club.

Under Hughton, Brighton appeared like most Premier League newcomers with a decent backline and a familiar style of football that involved playing the ball up to an aging Glenn Murray.

But Potter slowly moved the style of play on the pitch away from that and made Brighton a team comfortable in possession and able to create lots of dangerous chances, a style of football that has been deemed ‘Potterball’ by many Brighton fans.

Potter was always able to overcome his critics when things were not 100 percent on the pitch

Potter was always able to overcome his critics when things were not 100 percent on the pitch

The club does have an impressive training complex in Lancing which cost £20 million to build in 2014 and includes 11 full and half sized natural grass and artificial pitches as well as a half-size covered indoor pitch. This allows playing facilities to be available for the club’s players and staff no matter the weather conditions.

This infrastructure helped Potter be able to bring the best out of his players, many of whom may not have seemed top-ten Premier League quality when he first arrived.

While there were times when it looked like Brighton could not hit a barn door, the blueprints of a team capable of challenging further up the Premier League table were there.

Thomas Tuchel was sacked by Chelsea after their Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb

Thomas Tuchel was sacked by Chelsea after their Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb

That was proven last season as things started to fully click under Potter as he led the team to their highest-ever points and placed finish in the club’s history.

Brighton came 9th in the table with 51 points, which was achieved on the final day of the season with a brilliant 3-1 win over David Moyes’ Europa League semi-finalists West Ham.

This season Brighton look set to beat that record and have started in a brilliant fashion. Wins over Manchester United, Leeds, West Ham and Leicester City see the Seagulls sitting alongside the country’s top sides in the Champions League spots.

The potential Chelsea manager has turned Brighton into Premier League top ten contenders

The potential Chelsea manager has turned Brighton into Premier League top ten contenders

Against Manchester United, West Ham and Leicester City, Brighton did not scrape wins, they were dominant and fully deserving of the points and the plaudits that followed.

One reason Potter is able to get his team to dominate is his flexibility with tactics and system during a match. The team may start off with a back-five, but this will change throughout the game.

Potter will use his wing-backs to push up the field and allow the wide forwards to move centrally, such as Leandro Trossard. The manager will also be happy to see his team play long balls in order to beat the opposition’s counter-press.

This helps the team create chances from all over the pitch, whether they play through a team’s midfield or a long ball for a striker like Danny Welbeck to pounce on.

The success Potter has had is barely down to an overwhelming amount of investment from the club into the team as it has one of the least expensive squads in the Premier League.

Potter helped Marc Cucurella (right) become one of the best wing-backs in the Premier League

Potter helped Marc Cucurella (right) become one of the best wing-backs in the Premier League

Many expected Brighton to splash cash after the exit of Ben White for £50m to Arsenal last summer, but instead, he was replaced by Dan Burn and Joel Veltman, who were already at the club.

The same can be said when Yves Bissouma joined Tottenham for £30m this summer, but youngster Moises Caicedo was readily available to step up into Malian’s boots, despite only making his Premier League debut towards the end of the last campaign.

The one example of the club directly replacing an outgoing player was the signing of Pervis Estupinan from Villarreal after Marc Cucurella was sold to Chelsea in a deal worth £62m.

Estupinan, an Ecuadorian international, has already settled into the side and looks ready to prove worthy of Cucurella’s spot despite being bought for a fraction of what the Blues paid for the Spaniard.

Potter is not afraid to expand the recruitment net to strengthen his side, which can be seen by the club’s most recent deals.

Potter has been able to find a way of getting players to play to their potential at Brighton

Potter has been able to find a way of getting players to play to their potential at Brighton

Potter has found star players from outside of the top five leagues like Moises Caicedo (centre)

Potter has found star players from 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 the Paraguayan side Club Libertad and is pushing for a spot in the first team, and Simon Adingra joined from Danish team Nordsjaelland, but he has gone out on loan with a view to integrating him into the team in the future.

There were the arrivals of Chelsea players Billy Gilmore permanently and defender Levi Colwill on loan, but these certainly broke the mold of what Brighton were traditionally doing in the market.

Much like Chelsea, under Potter, Brighton have made use of the loan market by sending players out to gain more experience before using them in the Premier League.

Potter’s style of play would suit the players currently in the Blues roster, which under Thomas Tuchel were set up to play with wing-backs. Another positive for a club that has just spent close to £300m in one transfer window, would be his ability to be conservative as well as creative in the transfer market, which could be a refreshing change for the Blues.

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly had backed Thomas Tuchel almost £300m spent in the summer

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly had backed Thomas Tuchel almost £300m spent in the summer

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