As the current Premier League season draws to a close, the summer break offers the opportunity for those players or managers without a club to get back into work, and for former Chelsea manager, Graham Potter, France’s Ligue Un potentially beckons.
Potter endured an horrific time at Stamford Bridge, but as has been seen since under Frank Lampard, the problems clearly ran a lot deeper than the coach.
Fortunately in football, salvation is often only another appointment away, and having some time out of the limelight could well impact Potter in a positive way.
‘First things first, Nice are looking for a new manager for next season,’ senior journalist, Jonathan Johnson, wrote in his exclusive CaughtOffside Substack.
‘Didier Digard seems likely to leave given that their season fell apart in the last couple of weeks, at around the same time as the club was hit by the scandal including Christophe Galtier at PSG. The general feeling is that Nice are looking for someone who has Premier League experience, so Graham Potter would fit that bill obviously.’
It’s worth pondering on the point that Potter hasn’t become a bad coach overnight. The west Londoners clearly saw something in him when he was at Brighton and Hove Albion which they liked the look of, but the owners then proceeded to make life as difficult as possible for him by parachuting in players that arguably Potter didn’t need or want.
Nice’s recruitment policy may therefore be more to his liking.
‘You look at their recruitment policy over the last couple of years and there have been a number of players brought in from Premier League clubs,’ Johnson continued.
‘You’ve got the likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Aaron Ramsey and Ross Barkley being picked up, and it’s almost like a home away from home for a lot of these guys who have been part of the Premier League furniture over the years.
‘I’d say it also kind of reflects the ownership and what they’re trying to achieve because (Sir Jim) Ratcliffe is also looking to get in at Manchester United at this moment in time, so if an opportunity arose to bring someone like Potter in, he would relish that.
‘With regards to whether it would be a good fit for him or not, I think that the team is capable of playing much better football than they’ve been playing of late, finishing higher up the table. I think the fact they won’t or probably won’t have European football next season will probably work against them trying to get a coach of Potter’s ability and status despite what happened at Chelsea.’
Of course, he isn’t the only name in the frame to replace Didier Digard, though it may not even be possible for Sir Jim Ratcliffe to bring in the man he wants.
Things haven’t exactly gone well, and that means confidence is likely to be on the floor which is hardly the best set of circumstances for a new man in charge to come in and make his demands.
‘Other names they’ve been linked with are Franck Haise at Lens but I’d be stunned if he left Lens in the Champions League for Nice, without any European football at all, Regis Le Bris at Lorient – who would make a bit more sense – and then there’s Thiago Motta who is also wanted by PSG,’ Johnson added.
‘You have the Jean-Claude Blanc link too and I think Potter is definitely a name to watch for that role, but equally I think it’s going to be a challenge for Nice to sell the project to him and, to be honest, to sell the project to anyone at this moment in time.’
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