‘Bottomless pockets but no direction’ – Potter sacking a terrible look for Chelsea
Admittedly, Potter might have been sacked three or four times over by Roman Abramovich, but Boehly’s dismissal of the head coach on Sunday night, after 31 games in charge, proves his promises of time and backing for the 47-year-old were hollow.
Potter’s sacking reflects terribly on the ownership, suggesting Chelsea is a club with seemingly bottomless pockets but no clear sense of direction.
To recap, Boehly and Behdad Eghbali dismissed a proven, Champions League-winning manager in Thomas Tuchel days after a transfer window geared to his needs, specifically with the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and appointed an up-and-coming project coach in Potter who was always going to need time to instil his philosophy in the squad.
They surrounded Potter with a familiar structure, poaching key personnel from his former club Brighton, and showed every sign of preparing for a long-term project with him. After a summer outlay of £270million under Tuchel, Potter faced a huge job in creating a coherent side quickly, but his task was made harder when handed a raft of new, expensive players he did not ask for in January.
His warnings that his squad was too big fell on deaf ears, with the ownership believing they had a chance to capitalise on a loophole which would return Chelsea to the top.
Potter played his hand poorly at times, with many of his decisions muddled. But nearly £600m worth of new players left him faced with an enormous challenge to create a functioning team.
Boehly has often appeared to be an owner playing Fantasy Football, prepared to spend vast sums on new players without any idea of whether they would suit the coach or where they would fit into the squad.
Potter’s sacking reflects terribly on the ownership, suggesting Chelsea is a club with seemingly bottomless pockets but no clear sense of direction
Chelsea beat Arsenal to the signing of Mykhailo Mudryk for £88.5m in January, only for the Gunners to turn to Leandro Trossard, who cost £21m and had worked under Potter at Brighton. Trossard has been superb; Mudryk is yet to make an impact.
Boehly has appeared to be an owner with too much money and not enough expertise but he was, at least, seemingly understanding of Potter’s predicament and prepared to give him time — until Sunday.
Now, the American has demonstrated that he is no different from his predecessor, despite Potter’s nearly-impossible situation.