ADRIAN KAJUMBA: Graham Potter retains FIRM backing of Chelsea owners

Graham Potter retains the FIRM backing of Chelsea’s owners despite their slump in form – with the Blues board set to hand him a boost by signing Joao Felix on loan as prioritise revamping their unbalanced squad

  • Chelsea have endured a torrid spell of form with only three wins in 10 matches
  • Graham Potter has held onto the board’s support despite unfavourable results
  • The Blues are now set to beat Manchester United to the signing of Joao Felix 
  • Potter was chosen to replace Thomas Tuchel as he aligned with the club’s plans
  • READ: Secret reasons behind Tuchel’s sacking ‘would make people’s eyes water’ 

Chelsea’s owners remain convinced head coach Graham Potter is the right man to lead their long-term project – and are set to hand him a boost by capturing Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid.

While Sportsmail understands there have been concerns behind the scenes about some players not fully buying into his methods, Potter retains the firm backing of the club’s hierarchy amid Chelsea’s slump in results.

The Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium bought Chelsea from former owner Roman Abramovich with a view to overhauling the club from top to bottom.

Despite a poor run of results Graham Potter has retained the backing of the Chelsea board

Potter was picked to succeed Thomas Tuchel because they considered the former Brighton boss the manager who was best aligned with their short-term and long-term plans.

That belief in Potter remains intact despite Chelsea’s current struggles with the 47 year-old not considered to be under any pressure from those above.

Thomas Tuchel was sacked on the night of his 100th game in charge of Chelsea

However, the Blues face west London neighbours Fulham on Thursday night and while a negative result against Marco Silva’s side would not leave Potter in any immediate danger, there is understood to be an emphasis on the clash at Craven Cottage as the owners look for signs of improvement.

Potter is in regular contact with Boehly and fellow co-owner Behdad Eghbali who are understood to have re-iterated they had at the outset – that this Chelsea project under the new regime is a long-term one and their acceptance that rebuilding the club will take time.

Potter was handed a five-year contract to underline that when appointed in September.

Chelsea have lost six of their last nine games in all competitions, sit 10th in the Premier League table and are out of both domestic cup competitions following defeats at Manchester City.

Potter did steer them into the Champions League knockout stages having taken over Tuchel lost their first group game at Dinamo Zagreb.

The club are set to beat both Manchester United and Arsenal to the loan signing of Joao Felix

Potter has only been in charge for four months, a period that included an unprecedented break for the mid-season World Cup.

Chelsea chiefs are understanding of the injury crisis that has decimated his squad and left Potter without 10 senior players for Sunday’s 4-0 FA Cup defeat at the Etihad Stadium. There is also an acknowledgment that Chelsea’s squad is unbalanced and needs revamping.

Chelsea’s owners spent around £270m in the summer, have invested further already in this window to sign £35m defender Benoit Badiashile, £8m striker David Datro Fofana and £18m midfielder Andrey Santos and remain in the market for further signings this month.

Portugal star Felix is poised to join them at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea moved to beat Manchester United and Arsenal to land the forward on loan for the rest of the season for a fee of around £9m, with the Blues set to cover his wages for the remainder of the campaign.

Todd Boehly left his role as Chelsea sporting director to hand over to Christian Vivell and Paul Winstanley

Sources have told Sportsmail how a squad overhaul could be key for Potter as, while there are no questions about their individual quality, there are doubts about whether some of his stars are prepared to carry out his instructions.

Moving on some of those he does not see as part of his plans will represent a challenge though with most on big salaries.

Similarly, there are emerging concerns that attracting the calibre of player Chelsea will need to re-emerge as a force domestically and in Europe will be hampered by any failure to qualify for the Champions League.

England midfielders Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham are among the players Chelsea are interested in.

West Ham’s English midfielfer Declan Rice is another that Chelsea are interested in signing

But West Ham captain Rice has already made clear his desire to play Champions League football while Bellingham already has extensive experience in the competition with Borussia Dortmund.

They have also shown their support for Potter by letting him influence the building of the club’s new recruitment team, a further reason to keep faith.

There have been a large number of appointments and departures within Chelsea’s recruitment set-up in since the American takeover last year.

The ex-Brighton boss has also been allowed to influence the building of the recruitment team

Technical director Christopher Vivell and as director of global talent and transfers Paul Winstanley will steer Chelsea through the January window having joined since the summer transfer period which was overseen by Boehly, who stood in as interim sporting director.

Recruitment specialist Kyle Macaulay followed Potter to Chelsea from Brighton while two other new additions, also technical director Laurence Stewart and co-director of recruitment and talent Joe Shields, will join the new-look team, starting at Chelsea after this window.

Indeed, sources have indicated that there have been some teething problems behind-the-scenes given the large turnaround in recruitment and technical staff, perhaps contributing to some of the on-field problems.

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