Chelsea hope to have Graham Potter installed as manager in time to take charge of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Fulham after sacking Thomas Tuchel.
The new Chelsea owners are thought to be confident of selling their long-term Stamford Bridge vision to the highly rated Seagulls boss.
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The Blues were expected to meet Potter for talks over the vacant manager’s job on Wednesday, having sacked Tuchel earlier in the day.
Brighton were understood to have given Chelsea permission to hold talks with Potter, with the 47-year-old thought to be keen on the switch.
Blues bosses Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali are thought to be looking for a manager who will stay at Stamford Bridge for the long run.
Potter has a hefty compensation clause in his Brighton deal, but Chelsea’s owners are understood to be relaxed about meeting the buyout fee.
Chelsea sacked charismatic manager Tuchel on Wednesday morning, hours after the Blues’ chastening 1-0 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb.
The owners were understood to have already made the decision to fire Tuchel ahead of that loss in Croatia.
Boehly and Eghbali have been at the Stamford Bridge helm for 100 days since buying the club from Roman Abramovich.
The ambitious US owners are understood to have felt they could not wait any longer to act, fearing losing further ground on Premier League champions Manchester City.
Chelsea’s board are thought to have analysed Tuchel’s 100 games as Blues boss, identifying a worrying trend of 24 goals conceded in the first 50 matches and 53 in the second half-century.
Boehly and Eghbali will approach and interview a small number of candidates, with Brighton’s Potter chief among a small group of names.
Former Tottenham and Paris St Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Real Madrid chief Zinedine Zidane were also thought to be under consideration.
Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss in January 2021 and steered the club to their second Champions League triumph just four months later, with a stunning 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto.
The Blues’ poise and threat dwindled slowly at the tail-end of last season though, with record signing Romelu Lukaku disappointing and eventually heading back to Inter Milan on loan.
Tuchel guided Chelsea through the murky waters of UK Government sanctions in the fallout of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The 49-year-old kept Chelsea’s show on the road while Abramovich conducted a quick-fire sale to Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Boehly.
Chelsea’s new owners were understood to have been desperate for Tuchel’s tenure to continue as a success, but a nucleus of growing problems left them feeling the only option was to make a change.
Boehly and Behdad are thought to have felt Tuchel had lost his way tactically, struggling to get the best out of players.
New chairman Boehly has acted as interim sporting director and Tuchel had a huge influence on the Blues’ summer transfer policy.
The Blues spent a record PS273m (A$465m) in overhauling the squad, but more work is expected to follow in January.
Chelsea have since slipped to three defeats in seven matches at the start of the new campaign, with Tuchel’s tactics changeable and his demeanour increasingly tetchy.
Tuchel’s relationship with Chelsea’s players was understood to have become increasingly strained, while communication with the Blues’ new owners had proved troublesome across another turbulent summer.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard says “of course” he’s worried about his job status, and that’s before rampaging Manchester City visit on Saturday.
Everton are winless in the English Premier League this season under Frank Lampard and they host arch-rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.
Adding to a tough week for former England midfielders, Scott Parker was fired as manager of Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Gerrard hoped to escape Emirates Stadium with a point on Wednesday but Gabriel Martinelli scored the winner in the 77th minute in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory. It was Villa’s third straight league loss, leaving them on three points after five games.
The Liverpool great, hired last November to replace Dean Smith, was asked by BT Sport if he has concerns about his job.
“Of course I do,” Gerrard replied. “I’m really honest and self-critical of myself. I’ll do my job to the best I can do, I’ll step forward, I’ll take the responsibility in the best way I can.
“But if I stood here and said to you that I wasn’t concerned, I think you’d look at me as if I was from a different planet.”
Villa need to close down attackers and play tighter on them in the box, said Gerrard, who had a successful three-and-a-half-year stint as coach of Rangers in Scotland.
“If we keep making these fundamental errors, we’re going to find it hard to keep clean sheets,” he said.
It will be a big concern on Saturday when defending champion City visit Villa Park in the nightcap. Erling Haaland already has nine goals after just five league games. That includes back-to-back hat-tricks for the Norway striker.
Villa’s lone league victory came against Everton on August 13. Lampard’s squad is still searching for their first win after two losses followed by three straight draws.
Everton winger Anthony Gordon has scored in consecutive games and appears to be staying put on transfer deadline day.
Lampard said the 21-year-old Gordon, who reportedly was a target of Chelsea, is “too important” to the team to sell off.
This is Lampard’s second stint as a Premier League manager. Chelsea’s record goal-scorer helmed his old club for 18 months before being fired in January 2021, and replaced by Thomas Tuchel.
Everton hired Lampard last January and he helped the club avoid relegation.