Next Chelsea manager: Todd Boehly secures permission to speak to Graham Potter as source reveals incredible cost to buy-out Brighton contract

Graham Potter, Brighton and Hove Albion manager, applauds the fans during a pre-season friendly match at Select Car Leasing Stadium, Reading

Chelsea are rapidly closing in on the appointment of Graham Potter as a replacement for Thomas Tuchel after being granted permission to speak with the Brighton boss.

The Chelsea axe fell – perhaps somewhat surprisingly – on Tuchel on Wednesday morning after 100 games in charge. Issuing a statement, the club thanked the German for his efforts during his 100 games in charge. He will, of course, be best remembered for leading the Blues to Champions League glory just a matter of months after taking charge.

His final act was a dismal 1-0 Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday evening. After the match, pundits Joe Cole and Peter Crouch discussed the possibility of the axe falling.

That became a reality far quicker than anyone actually expected with Tuchel relieved of his duties on Wednesday.

Here’s how Tuchel’s record in his first 50 games compared to his second 50.

The early favourite for the job is Potter, who has done a stellar job in charge at Brighton.

Indeed, things are progressing quickly with Sky Sports News revealing that Chelsea have been given permission to speak with the 47-year-old.

Their reporter Rob Dorsett revealed the latest on Wednesday lunchtime. He also suggests Todd Boehly has long had a plan in place to appoint Potter.

“This is big breaking news. We told you, exclusively earlier that Graham Potter is Chelsea’s number one choice to replace Thomas Tuchel.

“I can now tell you, Chelsea have been given permission by Brighton to speak to Graham Potter. He is now expected to travel to London to meet with Todd Boehly and other members of the Chelsea board this afternoon. And I think you have to assume from that that Chelsea are prepared to meet the exit clause in Potter’s Brighton contract.”

Graham Potter compensation figure revealed

Dorsett continued: “So big breaking news, we said we expected this to move very quickly and we said this has been months in the planning. They decided some time ago to move on from Thomas Tuchel. They want someone who can come in and change the ethos, change the way that Chelsea play, redevelop their youth academy, make the most of their £250m worth of new talent signed this summer.

“It was some time ago that Todd Boehly and his fellow directors decided Thomas Tuchel was not the man to do this. And they do believe Graham Potter is the man to do that.”

Per David Ornstein, Chelsea will have to fork out a huge £16m to release Potter from his Brighton contract.

That figure will make the Solihull-born manager one of the costliest managerial appointments in history.

That record is currently held by Julian Nagelsmann, whom Bayern Munich paid RB Leipzig £21.6m (€25m) for in 2021.

Chelsea’s previous-record payment for a manager came in 2011. That was when they paid Porto a whopping £12.9m (€15m) to bring in Andre Villas-Boas.

That will surely now be broken by Potter as a move to appoint him at Stamford Bridge draws closer.

Boss will be an enormous loss to Brighton

Potter’s departure at Brighton will leave the south coast club with a huge void to fill. Since his arrival in 2019, he has improved the Seagulls year on year. Indeed, they finished a highly commendable ninth, having finished 16th in his first season.

This season, Brighton currently sit in fourth with four wins and just one defeat from their first six games.

That’s despite seeing two of their biggest stars in Marc Cucurella and Yves Bissouma poached away from them this summer.

Indeed, Potter will quickly renew acquaintances with the Spanish full-back at Chelsea. He departed for a huge £52.5m fee at the start of last month.

The full-back is a perfect example of how Potter can improve players – and that is exactly what will appeal to Chelsea. Cucurella signed in a bargain £15m deal from Getafe just 12 months prior.

The club also made vast profits on Bissouma, while Ben White is another player transformed into an international star and sold on for a huge profit.

The Blues will hope he can have similar impact at Chelsea. They have underperformed badly this season, losing away to Leeds and Southampton. The loss to Zagreb – and the manner of the performance – was clearly the final straw.

However, Chelsea’s gain will be very much Brighton’s loss and they will have a hard time finding a replacement to match his success.

READ MORE: Graham Potter told why he should avoid Chelsea ‘snake-pit’ with key transfer now making zero sense