Chelsea confirmed Graham Potter as their new manager on Thursday after parting ways with Thomas Tuchel six games into the Premier League season.
The 47-year-old Potter, who has a glowing reputation as a visionary coach at Brighton & Hove Albion, has agreed on a five-year deal with the six-time British champion.
His appointment is quite a departure for a club choosing a common name with experience at top European clubs but signals a possible change in approach.
He was appointed to the first management position under new America’s chairman, Todd Boehly, who led the acquisition three months ago.
“I am thrilled to bring Graham to Chelsea. He is a proven manager, and Premier League innovator and fits our vision for the club,” said Bailey in a statement. .
“Not only is he extremely talented on the pitch, but he has the skills and abilities off the pitch that will make Chelsea a more successful club.
“I look forward to supporting him, his coaching team, and the team as he reaches his full potential in the months and years to come.”
Tuchel, who replaced Frank Lampard to win the Champions League at Chelsea at the start of 2021, left the club on Wednesday after Chelsea’s surprise Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.
Chelsea spent around £250m ($287m) in the summer transfer window but lost to Leeds and Southampton to sit sixth in the Premier League with 10 points from six games.
Speed’s appointment of Potter to replace Tuchel suggests Chelsea were eyeing a man with experience at Swedish club Östersund.
Potter’s assistant Billy Reed, first-team coaches Bjorn Hamberg and Bruno Sartor, goalkeeper coach Ben Roberts and assistant recruiting Kyle Macaulay to join Chelsea.
His first assignment will be against local rivals Fulham on Saturday.
Potter, who briefly played for Swansea City before taking over Brighton in 2019, said: “I am extremely proud and excited to represent this great football club, Chelsea FC.
“We are very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group. We look forward to meeting and working with exciting players and developing a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of. I am doing it.”
Brighton sold wingback Mark Cucurella to Chelsea in the summer, but despite having no budget for big hitters in the division, they got off to a great start with 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in fourth place from six games.
Brighton finished a club-record ninth in the top flight after finishing 15th and 16th last season.
Potter’s flexible style of play, innovative coaching methods and attention to detail at Brighton have won him many fans including Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp.
Not afraid to push his players out of their comfort zone, he once had the players of Östersund perform the ballet Swan Lake.
The Football Association has named Potter as a candidate to succeed Gareth Southgate as manager of England.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said of Potter a year ago: “He clearly has a clear idea of football and is doing a great job. He’s an innovator and a lover of adventure.”
His departure is a blow for Brighton, along with his coaching team, and he confirmed that the weekend’s clash at Bournemouth will be handled by Under-21s coach Andrew Crofts.
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom said: “We are very disappointed that Graham is leaving us. An extraordinary person, he will be greatly missed by our football club.”