Sources: Potter set to become Chelsea manager

Graham Potter is set to become Chelsea’s new manager after agreeing a deal in principle to leave Brighton, sources have told ESPN.

The 47-year-old held lengthy talks with Chelsea co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali on Wednesday night and after being given the evening to think over his position, sources have told ESPN that Potter verbally agreed to take the role.

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Potter was due to hold his weekly prematch Brighton news conference on Thursday but it was cancelled as instead he will say his final goodbyes to players and staff before travelling to London to sign a long-term contract.

Barring any last-minute complications, Potter will succeed Thomas Tuchel as the club’s head coach and is set to be in the dugout for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Fulham. Although the details are yet to be finalised, Potter is expected to bring multiple staff members including his assistant Billy Reid.

Chelsea had drawn up a shortlist which included Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane but Potter was the club’s first choice. Sources suggest Zidane had no interest in managing in England and is instead waiting for an opportunity to take the France job.

Chelsea will have to pay Brighton around £16 million in compensation to appoint Potter, who has excelled on the south coast since taking charge in the summer of 2019.

Brighton finished last season in ninth place with 51 points — their highest-ever tally in the Premier League — and are in fourth place this season, above Chelsea, having won four of their opening six games.

Tuchel was dismissed by the new Chelsea owners just three months after completing their takeover following his 100th game in charge on Tuesday, a 1-0 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb.

Sources have told ESPN that Chelsea also intend to appoint a sporting director to oversee the club’s transfer policy after Boehly stepped up in an interim role following the departures of lead negotiator and director Marina Granovskaia and technical and performance adviser Petr Cech.

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