There’s no magic wand available if Chelsea opt to replace Potter - options analysed
As Chelsea’s season goes from bad to worse, the enraged calls to sack Graham Potter continue to build.
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As JK Rowling will tell you, replacing Potter is no easy task, especially when all of his magic seems to have been used up.
Twitter comedians have reacted with glee after Chelsea’s defeat at West London rivals Fulham on Thursday night brought more speculation over Graham Potter’s future at Stamford Bridge and led to a whole host of variations on the same pun.
‘I haven’t seen Potter in this much trouble since* Lord Voldemort killed his parents/he had to fight the Basilisk/he took part in the Tri-Wizard Tournament’ - *delete as applicable.
Now, all of this will be lost on any non-Potterheads (yes, that’s what they call themselves!), but getting back to reality and football matters, there have been serious questions asked about the immediate future of the former Brighton and Hove Albion manager.
Just four days have passed since ‘insiders’ at Stamford Bridge suggested Potter ‘retains the support of Todd Boehly and Chelsea's board’ as they ‘view him as their long-term manager despite his side's woeful form’. Of course, it seems highly unlikely even the dismal performance in Thursday night’s Craven Cottage will change that outlook - but let’s have a look at who could replace Potter should the Blues hierachy decide to dispense with his services and assess their chances of becoming the next man to step into the Stamford Bridge hotseat.
And no, Ron Weasley is not included!
Mauricio Pochettino - Chances of taking over: 8/10
The unwritten rule that the former Spurs manager absolutely has to be included in any conversation about a managerial vacancy comes into effect here.
Out of work since becoming the latest manager to try and fail to deliver a Champions League trophy at Paris Saint-Germain, Pochettino seems highly likely to return to the Premier League at some point in the near future. Impressive during his time at Spurs, without actually delivering a trophy, the former Argentina international will surely be a leading candidate if Chelsea opt for a change.
Spurs have an illustrious history of pinching former Blues bosses - Andres Villas Boas, Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte - so could Chelsea reverse the trend and pick up Poch?
Zinedine Zidane - Chances of taking over: 6/10
A rarity as a legendary former player that has impressed in the dugout, Zidane could be the sort of big name that would attract Chelsea’s owners.
The former Real Madrid midfielder made the successful transition into the dugout when he took Los Blancos to two La Liga titles, two Club World Cups, two Supercopa de Espana wins, two UEFA Super Cups and, more importantly, three consecutive Champions League Final wins during two separate spells in charge at the Bernabeu. Out of work, and linked with the France national team role before being cruelly dismissed as a candidate, Zidane’s profile would make him an attractive option.
Marcelo Bielsa - Chances of taking over: 3/10
This would more than likely be an absolute non-starter with Bielsa acting as a short-term measure.
The man lauded by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp remains out of work after leaving his role at Leeds United just under a year ago, Bielsa would bring plenty of experience to a role that is viewed as demanding. He impressed for large parts of his three and a half year reign at Elland Road - but seems highly unlikely to even be considered by Chelsea.
Diego Simeone - Chances of taking over: 7/10
Could the former Argentina midfielder be persuaded to test his managerial ability in the Premier League?
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Another high-profile player that has shone in the dugout, Simeone’s long reign at Atletico Madrid has led to two La Liga titles, two Europa League Final wins, a Copa del Rey triumph and two admittedly unsuccessful runs to the final of the Champions League, where defeats against local rivals Real Madrid ended any dreams of landing European football’s premier cup competition.
Simeone has been linked with the Chelsea vacancy in the past and is believed to have admirers within the Stamford Bridge hierachy. You sense Joao Felix might not be overjoyed upon his arrival, however.
Thomas Frank - Chances of taking over: 3/10
The Dane has done a fine job since taking over at Brentford and would have a number of aspects working in his favour.
Frank built on the good work of Dean Smith when he replaced the former Bees boss in October 2018. Promotion to the Premier League was secured 18 months later and he has helped establish the club in the top tier with clever signings, solid tactical work and by forging a spirit of togetherness between the squad and supporters. Would be an intriguing option but seems highly unlikely.
Much like Potter at Brighton, Frank has got a lovely thing going with relatively low expectations at his current club - why would he throw all that away for the harrowing stress-fest that is the Chelsea job?
John Terry - Chances of taking over 5/10
This one would be a heart over head conundrum for the Blues hierachy.
The Chelsea stalwart always said he would be back at Stamford Bridge when he announced his departure from the club in 2017. Since that emotional exit, the former England defender ended his playing career with Aston Villa before moving into the dugout with the same club as an assistant head coach. Terry departed Villa Park in July 2021 and is yet to take a step into the lead role in management.