Graham Potter can help Chelsea beat Liverpool and Man Utd to long-term N’Golo Kante replacement


For Graham Potter, there is so much to do now he is the new Chelsea head coach. The 47-year-old, who signed a long-term contract with the Blues on Thursday afternoon, is taking over a relatively new-look side, with the club making seven first-team signings over the summer transfer window.

Potter will have to get used to his new squad before making decisions on those he trusts and those who will become fringe players. As well as this, Potter – alongside the Chelsea board – will surely hold discussions over those with not too long to run on their contracts. The likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Marcus Bettinelli and Thiago Silva all see their deals at Stamford Bridge expire in June 2023.

Bettinelli could be let go considering he is the third-choice goalkeeper at the moment. Meanwhile, Silva seems to prefer negotiating year- by-year over his contracts so a decision will be made at some point this season.

Kante and Jorginho, though, remain the pressing matters when it comes to contracts. The former, Kante, has really struggled with injuries in recent times with the Blues. The France international, at the time of writing, is sidelined due to a hamstring problem.

Now 31, the Frenchman faces a big decision over his future. He has had plenty of interest from elsewhere, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United casting an eye over his situation during the recently-concluded summer transfer window.

Thomas Tuchel made no secret of his desire to keep Kante when he was in charge at Stamford Bridge, but it remains to be seen what Potter will think. The new Chelsea head coach could have a different vision to Tuchel – one that perhaps does not include Kante.

If Kante was to move on, either in January or in the summer transfer window as a free agent, then Chelsea would surely look to sign a long-term replacement for the energetic midfielder. Potter might not have to look much further than his old club Brighton & Hove Albion.

Moises Caicedo – who was signed by Potter down on the south coast in the summer of 2021 – has been so impressive since ending his loan spell at Beerschot in January. The versatile midfielder possesses great energy and speed which means he is able to cover substantial ground over 90 minutes.

This season, albeit with only six Premier League games played so far, Caicedo has pressed the opponent the second most times than any of his Brighton team-mates. As per FBRef, the 20-year- old midfielder has applied pressure 97 times over the course of six games. The Ecuadorian has a 30 per cent success rate when doing so as well.

His off-the-ball exploits have not gone unnoticed and he is attracting interest from top clubs across Europe. In fact, both Liverpool and Manchester United were credited with an interest in Caicedo in the summer transfer window but he remained at the Amex Stadium.

“It doesn’t surprise me that people are looking at him,” Potter said about Caicedo last month when in charge of Brighton. “He is playing at a fantastic level. “He is a top kid, a great person, young, playing in the Premier League and has all the attributes to play at the very, very highest level. We don’t want to lose him and we don’t think we will, but you never know. That is how it is but we are quite calm and confident.”

Potter could use his links at Brighton and his relationship with Caicedo to try and move for him when the January transfer window rolls around. The Blues are looking for a long-term central midfield player and had to get a stop-gap when they brought in Denis Zakaria on a season-long loan deal on transfer deadline day recently. Caicedo may be that man Potter turns to. He looks some player.

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