Graham Potter Still Hasn’t Found The Perfect Centre Forward For Chelsea


BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 29: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Chelsea during the Premier League match … [+] between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea FC at the American Express Community Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

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Graham Potter needed to return to the Amex Stadium to deal with many of the issues he still has to sort out as Chelsea manager. The 47-year-old saw his new side dismantled by Brighton in a 4-1 defeat on Saturday, ending an enjoyable honeymoon period for Potter at Stamford Bridge.

Until then, Chelsea had gone nine games unbeaten in all competitions under Potter following his arrival from Brighton in September. That big loss exposed some of the deeper issues still facing the new Blues boss. Chelsea remains a work in progress as it enters a new era under the potter.

Chelsea looked uncomfortable on the ball and were forced into countless errors by relentless Brighton pressure that was sharp from start to finish. At the other end of the pitch, however, the south coast visitors offered very little until Kai Havertz grabbed a consolation goal to make it 3-1. Chelsea was left toothless.

Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) and Chelsea’s England head coach Graham Potter (R) at … [+] the pitch after the final whistle of the English Premier League soccer match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on October 29, 2022. – RESTRICTED USE EDITORIAL. Not for use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online use during the match limited to 120 images. 40 additional images can be used in additional time. No video emulation. Use of social media during the match is limited to 120 images. 40 additional images can be used in additional time. Not to be used in betting posts, games or single club/league/player posts. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. Not for use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online use during the match limited to 120 images. 40 additional images can be used in additional time. No video emulation. Use of social media during the match is limited to 120 images. 40 additional images can be used in additional time. Not to be used in betting posts, games or single club/league/player posts. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. Not for use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online use during the match limited to 120 images. 40 additional images can be used in additional time. No video emulation. Use of social media during the match is limited to 120 images. 40 additional images can be used in additional time. Not to be used in betting posts, games or single club/league/player posts. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

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Thomas Tuchel was also unable to cope with Chelsea’s attacking options during his final 12 months in charge, signing Romelu Lukaku for a club-record transfer fee before returning the Belgian striker to Inter following a season Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was brought in as a short-term solution, but Potter started the 33-year-old on the bench against Brighton.

Havertz has shown signs of growth as a number nine, but the Germany international still lacks the natural finishing instincts of a player who has held the position for a number of years. That might be Havertz’s preferred role at some point in the future, but Chelsea need someone who can also deliver in the immediate term.

This has led to speculation about a possible move for Christopher Nkunku. The Frenchman has built a reputation as one of the best young strikers in Europe over the past two seasons for RB Leipzig and Chelsea are believed to be leading the chase for his signature ahead of the January transfer window .

LEIPZIG, GERMANY – OCTOBER 29: Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig celebrates his team’s goal … [+] first goal during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Red Bull Arena on October 29, 2022 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

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Nkunku is the perfect modern striker. He’s technically excellent with the ball at his feet, he can drop deep, he can turn in behind to run channels, he can create and, most importantly, he can end up scoring nine goals in just 12 Bundesliga appearances this season. Understandably, several big European clubs are following him.

Potter is a modern manager who needs a modern forward to lead the line for his new team. The signing of Nkunku would not only give Chelsea extra firepower in the final third of the pitch, but could bring balance and purpose to the rest of the squad. Saturday’s defeat to Brighton showed the progress Potter still has to make and he may want to start at the top of the pitch.

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