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Brighton & Hove Albion 'to open talks with ex-Chelsea manager this week'

Brighton 'to open talks with ex-Chelsea manager this week'
© Reuters
Brighton & Hove Albion are reportedly planning to open talks with a former Chelsea boss this week over their vacant managerial position.

Brighton & Hove Albion have reportedly identified former head coach Graham Potter as a potential successor to Roberto De Zerbi.

Potter spent just over three years in charge of the Seagulls before deciding to join Chelsea in September 2022, and De Zerbi was brought in on the South coast as his replacement.

De Zerbi steered Brighton into Europe and secured the club's highest-ever Premier League finish in 2022-23, but the 44-year-old left the Seagulls by mutual consent earlier this month following a challenging 2023-24 campaign.

The Italian's 20-month reign at Brighton was longer than the near seven-month spell that Potter endured as Chelsea boss between September 2022 and April 2023.

Potter has been out of work since he was sacked by the Blues after winning only 12 of his 31 games in charge, but he has been linked with a number of jobs in recent months.

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter after Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund on March 7, 2023.© Reuters

Brighton consider sensational return for Potter?

Potter allegedly turned down the Ajax managerial vacancy earlier this month, while Manchester United have been credited with an interest amid uncertainty over the future of Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

The 49-year-old has now emerged as a surprise candidate to replace De Zerbi as the new Brighton head coach, according to The Guardian.

A separate report from Football Insider claims that Brighton plan to open talks with Potter over a sensational return at some stage this week.

Brighton were initially interested in appointing Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna as their new head coach, but the 38-year-old - who has also been linked with Chelsea and Man United - is allegedly set to sign a new contract with the Tractor Boys.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter on February 5, 2022© Reuters

Potter a new leading contender for Brighton job?

It remains to be seen whether Potter would be welcomed back with open arms by Brighton supporters should a return to the Amex Stadium materialise, but he was previously adored by the Seagulls faithful following a successful first spell at the helm.

After honing his craft at Swedish outfit Ostersund and then Swansea City, Potter joined Brighton in 2019 and led the club to a 15th-placed finish in his first season as a Premier League manager.

The Seagulls then had to settle for a 16th-placed finish the following campaign before leaping up to ninth place in 2021-22 - the club's first top-half finish as a Premier League club.

Potter received plenty of plaudits from that season and his Seagulls side made a strong start to the 2022-23 campaign, winning four and drawing one of their first six league games to climb to fourth in the table.

After managing a total of 135 games in all competitions, winning 42, drawing 46 and losing 47, Potter decided to leave Brighton and join Chelsea where he failed to make the desired impact, albeit during a major transitional period at Stamford Bridge.

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