BBC Sport are today reporting that Swansea City have offered manager Graham Potter a new contract in an attempt to persuade him to ignore interest Brighton & Hove Albion and commit his future at the Liberty Stadium.
News emerged early this week that Brighton, after sacking Chris Hughton had quickly established Graham Potter as they number target to replace him. Bookies odds of 1/8 saw many news outlets assume that it was only a question of when not if that Potter would take over at the Premier League club.
However, the move hasn’t progressed as quickly as some media sources suggested. Some journalists believed that Potter was already being interviewed on Wednesday but in actual fact, it appears that if anything, Potter was having talks about his future with his current employers.
Whilst many media sources out there without an ounce of credibility in their stories can be ignored, the BBC is worthy of some attention as they have to ensure that there is significant substance behind the story before they can publish it.
One story that can be ignored straight away are those linking Brighton with a move for Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder. Never in a million years would he leave his hometown club for a fellow top flight side after guiding them there from League One. Phil Neville sounds like a more realistic target if they can’t succeed with Potter, but again they could be just relying on the bookies with some having the former Manchester United defender as second or third favourite for the job.
That’s not to say that it’s 100% fact that the club have indeed offered Potter fresh terms, assuming it is then it leaves you wondering exactly what has occurred to prompt a new contract offer and what happens next.
What we do know though is that Graham Potter needs to be kept happy to commit and stay at the club. It almost came to a head in January when our American owners attempted to push through a move for Dan James to join Leeds United. Strong speculation at the time suggested that this frustrated Potter so much that it prompted former chairman Huw Jenkins to step in and block proceedings to ensure that Potter remained at the club. Our owners, hopefully now realising the true value of our manager, need to do far more to keep Potter satisfied because unlike some of his predecessors, he’s not going to just be strung along and be dictated to.
Many of us have said it but there’s an opportunity here under Potter to achieve something and you’re hoping that we take it and don’t miss that opportunity. Manager appointments are crucial, I think it’s realistic to say that if Potter does leave, we could make the wrong appointment and see us struggle towards the bottom end of the table in 2019/20. However, Potter sounds like he will want assurances that he’ll work in an environment that will allow him to build on our 10th place finish and improve on that next term.
I would expect some fans would instantly question the club’s owners’ decision behind this move. They might cynically question that the club are simply doing this to convince the supporters that they did everything they could to tempt him to stay but ultimately Potter was always going to leave meaning a contract offer was never going to be taken up.
I’m not one to go along with that but I’m sure will.
The best scenario is that Potter has shown an openness to staying and a commitment to seeing the job and ‘long-term project’ out here but has requested improved terms; after all he may well be turning down an opportunity to double his wages at a Premier League club. However, there’s a possibility that he could be out of work sooner as the Premier League has proved to be an unforgiving division that demands quick success. Just ask the former Fulham manager.
With the expected departures of the likes of van der Hoorn, James and Fer amongst a few others, you would expect Potter would want greater assurances that he’ll be able to replace them. That wouldn’t necessarily require a large transfer budget but the ability to offer contracts to players, whether those are new signings of existing players at the club.
Last Summer, we only added one senior player to the first team – Bersant Celina but this year he’s surely going to need to bring in more than one regular first-team starter.
This is all assumption. At the end of the day, we don’t know what Graham Potter’s thought process is and it’s just a case of wait and see what he decides to do. If the club can’t satisfy him with their plans for the Summer transfer window then I would expect him to show an interest in the vacancy at Brighton.