Todd Boehly has made his first appointment as Chelsea owner, drafting in Graham Potter from Brighton and Hove Albion to succeed Thomas Tuchel.
The decision to axe Tuchel just a week after the close of the transfer window was a bold call but problems have reportedly stemmed throughout the summer, with defeats to Southampton and Leeds United proving to be problematic, and a decision is said to have been made before the surprise defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.
In Potter, Chelsea have appointed one of the most highly-rated young managers within English football, the 47-year-old guiding Brighton to a ninth-place finish in the Premier League last season – the highest in the club’s history.
He will inherit a talented and staggeringly expensive squad at Stamford Bridge, with key decisions to be made across the squad. Here, Stats Perform looks at the winners and losers of his appointment.
Winner – Marc Cucurella
Signed from Brighton for a reported £60million ahead of the 2022-23 season, many eyebrows were raised as to whether the Spain international was a worthwhile addition given Ben Chilwell’s position in the squad already.
After a 15-minute cameo on the opening weekend, Cucurella has subsequently started all five of the following Premier League matches, with Chilwell demoted to the bench after he started the curtain-raiser against Everton.
Cucurella’s position as first-choice down the left should be even more secure following the appointment of Potter, a player he brought to Brighton from Getafe in 2021 and one that was a staple in his side last season, appearing in 35 of the 38 league matches in a variety of position.
Loser – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Brought back to the Premier League on deadline day from Barcelona, former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spoke about his delight of playing under Tuchel again following the pair’s time together at Borussia Dortmund.
That reunion proved to be short lived, though, with Aubameyang now having to prove himself to Potter and potentially having to shake off the troublesome reputation he earned from Mikel Arteta in his time in north London.
Potter is a manager who has a set approach to play and Aubameyang must fill into that fully, though the new boss may not have the patience to try to make it work, instead looking to younger options that can be crafted to fill that role.
Winner – Armando Broja
Having impressed on loan with Southampton last season, Armando Broja was linked with further loan moves for the 2022-23 campaign but opted to remain at Stamford Bridge and fight for regular football.
The Albania international could secure exactly that under Potter if he quickly learns his style of play, with Potter’s time at Brighton showing he is fully prepared to trust in the youth to fill voids in the squad – shown by Moises Caicedo’s meteoric rise following the sale of Yves Bissouma to Tottenham.
Finding a long-term solution to Chelsea’s striker woes is likely to be one of the biggest tasks on Tuchel’s agenda after his arrival in west London and Broja should get the chance to prove he is exactly what is needed.
Loser – Ageing defenders
Chelsea spent heavily to bolster their defensive ranks after losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, with Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana brought in as replacements.
The duo reportedly cost just over £100m and those fees will likely ensure they are Potter’s first-choice pairing this season, with Chelsea keen to ensure they don’t sustain another huge loss in the transfer market like they did with Romelu Lukaku.
That could be bad news for 37-year-old Thiago Silva and 33-year-old club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, both of whom will be vying for regular football ahead of the World Cup in Qatar but face considerable competition for a starting berth.
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