World Cup winner admits he ‘wanted to kill’ Chelsea boss Graham Potter amid £50m transfer
Graham Potter’s tactical methods at Brighton didn’t go down well with a new World Cup winner, but both parties benefited from the resultant change. The Chelsea manager has already shown his own style at Stamford Bridge with positional changes but saw results slip before the World Cup break.
With the Blues back in action next week, Potter’s methods will be under the microscope once more, but the proof is in the pudding as far as he is concerned after one of his Seagull’s prodigies went on to win the biggest tournament in football. Playing in a World Cup final on its own was a major story for Alexis Mac Allister , but picking up an assist and receiving glowing praise from across the board is another thing. He was picked out to be the next man to wear the famous No10 shirt too.
His club form, with five goals this season in the Premier League, has seen him become a familiar name with fans in England, but that wasn’t the case when he joined. As is customary with Brighton’s established recruitment system, Mac Allister came from Boca Juniors in Argentina in 2019. As an unknown attacking midfielder, he was one of Potter’s first signings on the south coast. With improved performances have come more praise, but Brighton’s World Cup winner wasn’t always a fan of Potter. He admitted earlier this year,
“I wanted to kill him… but that’s part of football. He was very helpful — improving my versatility and physicality. I’m a much better player today because of it so I can thank him a lot.”
Mac Allister was moved deeper into a playmaking role by Potter, much like the transformation with Pascal Gross too, and that has seen him grow in stature at the Amex thanks to Potter’s management.
“I like to play as a No 10, I like to play as a No 6,” he added at the time. “The most important thing for me is to help my team-mates, win football games and try to be as central as I can so I can be as close to the ball to get on it as much as possible.”
Luckily for Brighton, Mac Allister signed a new deal until 2025 before the World Cup. Chelsea, with Potter in charge and ex-Seagulls recruitment director Paul Winstanley also in the background, are one of the clubs that may have been preparing a bid for the 23-year-old off the back of the tournament. That now looks unlikely given his contract commitment, but the Blues are still eyeing a move for his teammate Moises Caicedo.
Also in midfield for Roberto De Zerbi, the Ecuadorian is seen as a brilliant option to replace N’Golo Kante in 2023, and Chelsea are keen to secure his services, even if he costs upwards of the reported £50m. Mac Allister’s development as an individual under Potter and within a wider system also bodes well for Chelsea fans that have so far remained cautious of their new manager’s pedigree and quality.