Graham Potter has been appointed the new manager of Swansea City on a three-year contract, the club has confirmed. Potter will be given the remit of getting the Swans back to the Premier League, following their relegation after seven seasons in the top flight. But does the 43-year-old have the capabilities to achieve Swansea’s goals?
A major positive for Swansea appointing Potter is that he has tasted recent success in a managerial role. Over the course of five seasons, Potter led Östersunds FK from Sweden’s third tier to the first tier of Swedish football, for the first time in the club’s history. The former defender, who played for nine English clubs during his playing career, completely transformed Östersunds during his seven year spell in charge. On top of domestic success, Östersunds reached the last 32 of the Europa League last season, where they beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Although this victory was not enough for them to progress to the last 16, the achievement of getting to the knockout stages of the Europa League cannot be underestimated. The Swedish club, who were only formed in 1996, average just 5,000 at home, which exemplifies the superb job Potter did in getting them to the knockout stages of Europe’s second most illustrious competition.
The achievements of Potter at Östersunds definitely shows that he warrants a chance at a bigger club, but he will have to recognise that managing Swansea will be a different task to managing Östersunds, a club where the expectation levels were not high. On the contrary, the Swansea fans and Swansea board will expect at least a top six finish this season. No doubt, this expectation at The Liberty Stadium will be fuelled by Aston Villa’s financial troubles following two seasons outside of England’s top tier. Swansea will be anxious to secure an immediate return to the Premier League in order to avoid such financial troubles. It will be interesting to see how Potter works under more pressure than he has previously faced in his managerial career.
In addition to this, Potter will be working with resources that were no where near the resources he had at his disposal at Östersunds. Apart from the signing of Iranian international Samman Ghoddos, Potter built his Östersunds squad through free transfers and loan deals. In comparison, Swansea forked out around 22 million on one player in the 2018 January transfer window, the re-signing of Andre Ayew from West Ham. Potter will have to get his recruitment spot on with the Swans, and will also have to cope with the plethora of players that will be offered to him. To aid him with recruitment, Potter has brought recruiment analyst Kyle Macualey with him to Wales, the club statement confirmed.
The arrival of Potter in English football in a managerial capacity could be a breathe of fresh air. Swansea have made a bold and brave appointment in Potter, but one that is totally understandable considering his record in Swedish football. Key to whether Potter is successful for the Welsh club is how he deals with the new challenges he faces that were not experienced at Östersunds, such as considerable financial backing and high expectations in South Wales.
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