Potter’s free-spending Chelsea can ‘attack’ end of the season
Chelsea manager Graham Potter says he is excited by the challenge of getting the best out of a bloated squad after the Blues smashed spending records during the January transfer window.
World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez could make his debut against Fulham on Friday after joining for a British-record 121 million euros ($132 million, £107 million) from Benfica.
Ukraine’s Mykhailo Mudryk could also make his Stamford Bridge bow after joining Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee that could rise to 100 million euros.
Chelsea signed eight players in total in January, taking their total spend in the first season under new ownership to more than £500 million.
Despite the investment, Chelsea sits 10th in the Premier League table and was dumped out of both domestic cups by Manchester City.
Potter’s men have a 10-point deficit to make up if they are to catch the top four.
And the former Brighton boss faces a tricky task ahead, unable to register all the new arrivals for the latter stages of this season’s Champions League.
“It’s exciting,” said Potter, who only arrived at the club in September.
“It’s a test for me of course and for the staff and everybody but it’s an exciting one. We’ve got a lot of really good players.
“We have to create an environment where there’s healthy competition and they can push each other and at the same time understand that there’s going to be frustration at times because only 11 can play.
“But we’ve got a lot of important games and we need to improve our results so it’s about playing, supporting the team and being ready to play.”
Potter suddenly has a wealth of options at his disposal, with Chelsea’s long injury list beginning to clear.
Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are available again for selection.
“There is a youthful dynamic and you can see the type of player we’ve tried to sign. We are trying to build something for now and the future,” Potter said, referring to Chelsea’s much-criticised transfer policy.
“We’ve had a pretty unprecedented injury situation, lots of things have happened. We’ve learnt a lot and we can attack the second half of the season.”
Argentina’s Fernandez was signed with minutes to spare as protracted negotiations with Benfica went down to the wire on Tuesday’s deadline day.
But not all of Chelsea’s business was completed — a move to send Hakim Ziyech to Paris Saint-Germain on loan collapsed after the paperwork was not finished in time.
“I’m the head coach so I don’t get too involved in the nitty-gritty of deadline day,” said Potter.
“I’ve been involved too long to know that there are some things you can’t control and I couldn’t do anything at that point to change things. I found out that we had signed Enzo when it was all done and I’m very pleased because he is a fantastic player.”