Connect with us

Transfer News

An in depth look at who could be the next Chelsea manager – Should Graham Potter Sacked



It’s rare to see the Chelsea fanbase so united.

Some may think of the ill-prepared announcement of the European Super League, which saw Chelsea fans organise a protest that was credited with catalysing the English clubs pulling out of the bogus competition. Older fans may even recall the fury that met the appointment of Rafa Benitez in 2012.

Yet the fan feeling around incumbent Chelsea manager, Graham Potter, is like nothing a top six side has faced in recent memory. Whether it’s online, in the stadium, or unfortunately in Potter’s mailbox, Chelsea fans are letting their anger be heard: The coach is not welcome here anymore.

The question is, who comes next? Todd Boehly’s management was meant to be about long-termism. Gone was the merry-go-round of the Roman Abramovich years, 2022 was the dawn of a new era of sustained success at Stamford Bridge. Then, he sacked Thomas Tuchel. After such a seemingly productive summer, it was the first flashpoint in the relationship between the new American owner and the West London fanbase, to sack a Champions League winning manager for a Brighton coach.

Yet no one can pretend choosing Potter as a replacement didn’t at least make some sense at the time. Potter proved at Brighton he could improve young players, he could take on bigger teams, and he could transform a club’s playstyle. He was a good appointment by Chelsea, but he’s not been a good coach so far. One win in fifteen games is simply not up to the club’s standards. If he were to bite that bullet for the second time in five months, Todd Boehly cannot afford to get the next appointment wrong.

If Chelsea hire another manager who can’t satisfy the short-term expectations of the fans, while failing to stop the club shifting into freefall again in two years time, it brings the whole project into serious questioning. So, if Chelsea sack Graham Potter, who actually makes sense?

The eliminated candidates :

Well to be blunt, the names currently circulating amongst fans on social media do not make sense, at all. José Mourinho is a Chelsea legend, no one is doubting that. He is one of the best coaches of all time, and his current Roma side have the best defence in the league by expected goals against. But if Chelsea bring back the Portuguese for the third time, then the past five years spent attempting to get away from counter attacking football and become a possession-dominant side that plays attractive football, gets torn up in an instant.

Players like Joao Felix, Enzo Fernández, and quite possibly the young & raw players like Noni Madueke and Mykhalio Mudryk could see their roles change significantly. Also, Mourinho is currently feuding with the Roma board, something he’s done often at all of his clubs. If Tuchel lasted three months under Todd Boehly, how long does a demanding and imperfect Mourinho last in 2023?

Diego Simeone largely falls under the same line. Yes he has won LaLiga as recently as 2021, but any Spanish football fans will tell you that their title victory papered over serious cracks in the Atletico playstyle. The Argentine is still struggling to break down deep blocks and defend against counter attacks, evidenced by the fact they’re fifth in Laliga for goals p90.

Sure, Chelsea currently average 0.98 goals p90, a shocking statistic, but Simeone is the complete reverse of what Graham Potter was meant to be at Chelsea. Like Mourinho, his appointment would symbolise a complete confusion of what the Blues actually want to be.

Finally, anyone seriously considering the likes of Thomas Frank should compare the Dane’s accolades with Potter’s before he was appointed in September. This is absolutely no slight on Frank, who has made Brentford an excellent team that’s greater than the sum of its parts, but it feels incredibly brave to look even lower down the league table than last time.

The same goes for Gerardo Seoane, formerly of Bayer Leverkusen. A good coach, clearly not ready for a task of this magnitude. So, let’s talk about serious potential candidates.


So, let’s talk about serious candidates and my preferred list from number 5 (least favourite) to number 1 (the manager I think should takeover, should Potter be dismissed).

5 ) Niko Kovac

Based on the reasoning for writing off Frank as a potential coach for Chelsea, naming the current manager of Wolfsburg may feel a little contradictory. However, Kovac has experience at Frankfurt, Bayern Munich, and Monaco in quite an underrated career. His trophy cabinet is larger than the average manager, with a Bundesliga, FDB Pokal, and DFL Supercup collecting dust from the 2018/19 season in Munich. Yet Kovac has punched above his weight at other clubs, reaching the Pokal final with Frankfurt in 2017 and then winning it in 2018.

At Monaco, a club he was quite harshly sacked from in January 2022, he also reached the final of the Coupe de France, only losing to PSG 2-0. In his time there, Kovac helped develop the likes of Youssouf Fofana and Aurélien Tchouaméni. Of his Croatian manager, the Real Madrid man said, “If I had to sum him up in one word, it would be ‘rigour’.He never lets us rest on our laurels. It’s concentration in training and a lot of effort.”

Kovac took over Wolfsburg in the summer of 2022, and after a rough start, he has Die Wölfe seventh in the Bundesliga. Not only is it a large improvement on last season, where they had to escape relegation under Florian Kohfeldt, but Kovac has demonstrated an ability to improve youngsters while grabbing short-success, predominantly in a 4-2-3-1 system – everything Graham Potter is currently trying to do.

They were arguably undeserved losers in a recent 4-2 loss to Bayern, and they’ve demolished the likes of Hertha Berlin and Freiburg 5-0 and 6-0 this year. Before the Christmas break, Kovac’s side beat Dortmund and Frankfurt too, with a team that’s currently the second youngest in the league. Fortunately for Chelsea, despite being tied down till 2025, Wolfsburg are hardly a club most employees feel emotionally attached to. With one of the lowest attendances in the Bundesliga and a distinctly corporate feel, if Todd Boehly really wanted Kovac, he could go and get him

4) Rúben Amorim

Another name that doesn’t quite match up with the desired experience or star-power, but one certainly worth considering. Most people now know the name of the Sporting CP manager, after Amorim won the club’s first league title in 19 years back in 2021. It’s also worth mentioning that those in Portugal have touted the 38-year-old for a successful career for a long time. After all, it was Sporting who paid €10 million to get the Portuguese coach out of his contract at Braga, a place where Amorim won their third piece of silverware this century in 2020 (winning the Taça da Liga, equivalent of the Carabao Cup, something Amorim did again in January 2023 with Sporting).

When he left for Lisbon, he became the third most expensive manager in history. The league title came after a year of rehabilitation for a sleeping giant, one that had endured chaotic underachievement for the previous few years. He brought a clear sense of direction, praised by the diligent site Portugoal for his art of communication. He’d hold press conferences flanked by his entire coaching staff, in a bid to show solidarity.

There’s still some issues though, Amorim has been wedded to a 3-4-3 system, and not only is that something Chelsea have continuously tried to get away from, but it’s also a system that has let him down this season. Sporting have had high player turnover, which is impart due to how well Amorim has developed the players at his disposal. Over the last 18 months, the club has sold Matheus Nunes to Wolves, Nuno Mendes to PSG, João Palhinha to Fulham, Pedro Porro to Spurs, goalkeeper Luis Maximiano to Granada, and have had their depth raided.

Still, Sporting’s defence has been worryingly porous of late, conceding 23 goals in 22 games. That may not sound too bad, but it’s still a goal-per-game, while Benfica & Porto have conceded 13 & 14 goals in the same amount of matches, and neither one of those teams gets torn apart so easily on counter attacks. Perhaps a gamble for Amorim will pay off for Chelsea, but you can’t help feeling like he needs to prove he can create a winning machine elsewhere in Europe, before an appointment rolls well with the fans.


3) Mauricio Pochettino

Hiring one of the most reputable managers in the history of one of your fiercest rivals isn’t typically the best idea – ask Rafa Benitez how he felt on his first game as Chelsea manager. That, combined with the fact many fans at Stamford Bridge have battered Poch with abuse over the past half-decade over his failure to win a trophy, makes this move seem like a non-starter. However, the Argentine is still one of the most attractive options on the free-agent market, so it’s worth exploring if he makes a good fit.

Yes, Tottenham may still have a trophy cabinet that features just a league cup from 2008 in the 21st century, but that doesn’t mean Pochettino wasn’t a huge success at the club. Most fans would be quite happy to see him back, after all, he led them to 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in his five full seasons at the club. He also created a clear identity and was able to adapt to his players well. The press, even in his final season, 2018/19, which was one of his weakest, saw Spurs win the ball in the final third the fifth most times in the league (A certain Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea finished top for that metric).

Where the huge questions come in, when purely assessing his credentials, was his time in Paris. His full season in 2021/22 is one where general statistics like goals scored, points, and XG paint a disproportionately rosy picture. PSG looked lost in possession, and were painful to watch against any team that sat back. Poch completely failed to imprint his ideals. Too often they relied on the magic of Kylian Mbappe and last minute goals, and even before they were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid, PSG fans were protesting against his tenure.

An inability to make an impact on a squad full of players and egos will be a giant red flag for a Chelsea looking to replace Graham Potter, as the task at Stamford Bridge may just be harder than it is in Paris, considering the sheer depth of expectation to start amongst the current pool. Perhaps Pochettino has learned from his mistakes, and that will equip him well to succeed on the west side of London. However, with the degree of toxicity that would come with his appointment anyway, this again feels like quite a gamble of a hire.

2) Hansi Flick

From a gamble to more of a sure fire bet of success, it’s the man who led Bayern Munich to one of the most destructive periods of European football in recent memory. Hansi Flick’s two year spell in Bavaria doesn’t get the respect it quite deserves, partly because the majority of his tenure took place behind closed-doors during the Covid-19 pandemic, and partly because his Germany side failed to get out of the group stages at the recent World Cup. Remember though, while in charge of Bayern, Flick lost just seven games in 86 matches, producing a win percentage of 81.4%. For context, that’s 6% higher than Pep’s time in Munich and better than anything else the Spaniard has managed.

What was stunning about the 58-year-old’s time in charge was how he took over technically as an interim coach after being an assistant under Kovac, who was fired mid season, and yet implemented the best press in Europe. Their 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter finals of the Champions League was one of the worst results the Catalans have ever suffered. Bayern are also a team that carries excessive pressure not just from players on big wages, but a culture of demanding that type of dominant success.

In the Amazon documentary with Bayern conducted over the 20/21 season, Flick’s patience is seen to wither as absolute perfection is demanded from a club with such rich, recent history. At Chelsea, weirdly enough, it may be a slightly lighter task, and one he’s well equipped for. Lewandowski has praised Flick’s man management before, saying he makes an effort to understand and communicate with all of his players, something that appears missing at Cobham. Yet, Flick remains tied down to the German national team. Only a few days after his side were dumped prematurely out of the World Cup, Flick spoke optimistically of the team’s chances at Euro 2024, a tournament held on home turf. The man may be right, but the timing is not.

1) Luis Enrique

After semi-eliminating every candidate spoken about on this list, just one remains. Another whose side left Qatar far earlier than expected, but what separates Enrique from Flick is that Spain’s exit in the round of 16 was enough for Luis Enrique to quit his job. Much like Flick too, Enrique is a tremendously respected and decorated coach. He’s a Champions League winner too, with Barcelona in 2015, as well as a two-time LaLiga winner in Catalonia. He’s managed elsewhere too, first at Roma in 2011/12, and at Celta de Vigo the season before taking over at Barcelona. Enrique is clearly inspired by Pep Guardiola, and most people who have watched Spain will have an idea of his tactics. It’s a clear 4-3-3 system, that’s based on dominating possession, but also finding quick transitional opportunities through short passes.

What’s a little less known about the 52-year-old is a degree of adaptability that he has demonstrated in his career. The most noted example was when he switched Barca to a 3-4-3 ahead of their return leg against PSG, after losing the first 4-0. It helped his team overload the PSG defence, and there were some shades of what would turn out to be Xavi’s new-Barca, in the triangles they managed to form on the pitch. It worked clearly, as le Parisien were infamously defeated 6-2 as Barca progressed.

A clear plan with a degree of changing ideas when they’re not working would suit Chelsea well right now, and be as close as possible to a solution that pleases everyone. What may not gel with the players and even the hierarchy is Enrique’s single-mindedness. He stepped down from Barcelona despite maintaining great form, citing the pressure at the Nou Camp as a reason to leave the club. More pertinently, Enrique is dedicated to possession-based football and will avoid using players who do not fit into his ideology.

David De Gea has been frozen out of the Spanish squad for his weaknesses on the ball, which is understandable. What alarmed fans more in his time at Barca was consistent rumours of a fractured relationship with Lionel Messi, stemming from a training ground incident. Now the Spaniard is in no way comparable to Thomas Tuchel, who has fallen out with his bosses at three jobs in a row now. However, Chelsea need someone with the touch of Carlo Ancelotti, a manager who can keep everyone (even those not playing) onside. That’s the only question mark around Enrique, because every other aspect of his career shows he can create a winning machine very quickly, and starve opposition teams of chances

SOURCE : chelseafc365

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2022

%d bloggers like this: