COMMENT: Graham Potter is safe at Chelsea. Even with their top four chances diminishing by the week, Brighton's accounts are proof enough why Potter will be in the Blues dugout for the start of next season...
Let's preface this by stating Potter's position shouldn't be under threat. Yeah, Champions League qualification now looks a stretch. But the team is finding it's shape. Potter is finding his favoured players. And they're responding. This isn't the Chelsea of pre-Qatar. There's promise. Potential. There's something now there for fans to grab onto. The team is on an upward curve.
There were rumours. Speculation. But it wasn't until this week that we were able to get a peak at Brighton's books and see the fee Chelsea paid to prise their old manager away. £21.5m. An English record and only £500,000 less than what Bayern Munich paid RB Leipzig for Julian Nagelsmann two years ago.
And that was the transfer fee. Never mind the wages involved for Potter and the staff he brought with him from Falmer stadium. Add the compensation paid out to Thomas Tuchel and his team... and you're touching 100 million quid. The idea, after less than six months, that Todd Boehly and his board would even dare raise the prospect of another coaching clearout is ridiculous. What are we talking about? £150m? £200m? Just to dump Potter and his assistants and bring in another lot? It just isn't going to happen.
Another thing to consider is why Boehly was so determined to bring Potter to Stamford Bridge. And just as importantly, why he acted so ruthlessly dispensing with Champions League winner Tuchel.
Potter, essentially, is a company man. A committee person. He'll have his say on transfers, sure. But his opinion won't be final. It's no secret that Boehly and fellow director Behdad Eghbali wanted a manager willing to take a backseat. It's why the new board and Tuchel were never going to last. And it's also why Potter has no need to feel threatened, no matter the managerial talent that becomes available in the coming months.
We've seen the rumours. We've read the gossip. Zinedine Zidane. Luis Enrique. Even the return of Jose Mourinho from Roma. Some of the greats have been associated with Potter's job. And the stories have come from good sources. Indeed, you fancy some Chelsea intermediaries have been alerting certain partners that their clients are being discussed. But in football, as we know, there's a helluva a gap between a quiet enquiry and a solid, concrete offer.
But more importantly, none of these established names fit the current Chelsea prototype. We're not calling Potter a 'yes man', but Zidane, Enrique and certainly Jose aren't ones to tolerate board interference. And in terms of personality and demeanour, again, they're the veritable opposite of Potter.
As we say, Potter has had his moments. The Blues manager has at times spoken out against what he's had to deal with. The overloaded squad. The unwanted players. There has been criticism about the cards he's been dealt. But it has been done with diplomacy - certainly Potter is no Antonio Conte.
And that suits Boehly. It's now obvious how the American plans to run the club. It will be with him as the head. The flagship. Effectively, English football is getting for the first time their equivalent of Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president, or his Barcelona counterpart, Joan Laporta. Their fingers are in everything. No matter the expertise of the recruitment team, Florentino and Laporta drive the meetings. The strategy. They're at the coal face of everything that matters.
Sure, we've had similar in England, but not at Chelsea's level. At least, not this century. Arsenal. Liverpool. Manchester United. Manchester City. They've all had owners and boards happy to stay out of the spotlight. To defer the football decisions to the football men. But Boehly and Chelsea, well, they're breaking new ground.
Which is why Potter is the right manager for Boehly at this time. Of course, Zizou worked under Florentino... twice. They weren't always on the same page and it was often the status of Zizou that forced his president to back off. This simply wouldn't work at Stamford Bridge.
Boehly wants to be involved in everything. Particularly the recruitment. Just consider the whistle-stop visit to Paris this month to gauge the enthusiasm of Neymar about a move to London. It had all the hallmarks of Florentino's famous trip to the Mbappe family home when Kylian was still an AS Monaco player. And with the same result.
But this is how Boehly will work. Brash. Bold. Personally driving transfer policy. And just like Florentino and Laporta - with the press and paparazzi in tow. This really is no longer the club of Roman Abramovich...
If there's one piece of advice we'd offer Boehly, it would be to build a personal relationship with the club's ex-players. There's a void there - and it's something which can help the American get deals over the line. Didier Drogba. John Terry. Gianfranco Zola. It's an incredible resource to drawn on. Meeting a young player's family with a smiling, engaging Drogba or Ashley Cole can make all the difference. If Manchester United can see the benefit of Sir Alex Ferguson meeting with a potential signing. Or Liverpool have Steven Gerrard facetiming with a transfer target. Then it shouldn't be above Boehly's Chelsea to seek the same.
But in the end, it will be the American calling the shots. And it's why Potter is Boehly's ideal manager. That fee noted in Brighton's books only tells half the story. Their old manager will be in the Chelsea dugout for the start of next season.