Soccer

Man Utd ‘better fit’ for Graham Potter than Chelsea after double snub

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Paul Merson believes Manchester United was the perfect job for Graham Potter – not Chelsea. The former Arsenal midfielder, who does not hide his support for the Blues, has made it clear that he rates Potter highly as a coach but Merson has doubts as to whether he is the right fit for the current state of affairs at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea ruthlessly pulled the trigger on Thomas Tuchel in midweek following the 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

By the time the German arrived at Cobham for training on Wednesday morning, he was told by Todd Boehly that he was no longer required to lead the team.

The American owner wasted no time at all in moving for Brighton boss Potter, who has cost the club over £20million in compensation fees alongside four members of his technical staff.

However, in the view of Merson, Potter would have been a much greater fit for Manchester United despite the Red Devils rejecting the chance to appoint the 47-year-old on two separate occasions.

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Merson wrote in his Daily Star column: “Graham Potter had to take the Chelsea job – I’m his biggest fan but deep down, is it one you really want?

“You’re now managing one of the world’s elite teams and the pressure is consuming. I can’t help but feel it’s going to be so hard for him and his coaches at Stamford Bridge.

“I was pushing for him to get the Manchester United job earlier this summer as it was a different task to Chelsea. It’s a project with young talent and even the older players have a lot to improve.

“Chelsea aren’t too far away. They lost two cup finals on penalties last season and won the Champions League in 2021. This is now just a case of finding a successful formula.”

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Potter has enjoyed a remarkable rise to stardom after spending seven years in Sweden managing Ostersund, who he led to the Europa League knockout stages in 2018 – where his minnows beat Arsenal before losing the tie on aggregate.

United had the chance to appoint Potter following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but the Red Devils opted to secure an interim manager in the form of Ralf Rangnick.

When the German’s departure was confirmed at the end of the season, Potter was among the candidates in the frame once again after guiding Brighton to their best-ever Premier League finish (ninth).

The Old Trafford hierarchy decided to push ahead with a move for Erik ten Hag though following an impressive interview from the Dutchman.

It’s been reported this week that United decided against hiring Potter due to his lack of Champions League experience.

That seemingly hasn’t bothered Chelsea though and the Blues are set to stay committed to Potter even if he fails to achieve a top-four finish.

The Solihull-born tactician could barely contain his delight after signing a long-term contract in west London.

He said: “I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club.

“I am very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of.”

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