The departure of Graham Potter from Brighton has potentially left the south coast club in difficult waters in the opening weeks of the 2022-23 Premier League season after the 47-year-old Solihull native took up the vacancy at Stamford Bridge in the wake of Chelsea unceremoniously cutting ties with German tactician Thomas Tuchel.
In a move that has brought a considerable amount of criticism directed at the new regime under American co-owner Todd Boehly, the former Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, and 1. FSV Mainz 05 headmaster was relieved of his duties the day after the Blues’ frustrating 1-0 away defeat against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on the back of patchy domestic form in the run-up to midweek proceedings.
Moving quickly, Chelsea paid out £21m in compensation to Brighton to secure Potter and his staff who have been given the task of securing a top-four place this season with expectations far exceeding what he would have been asked to achieve at the Amex Community Stadium this term.
As for Brighton, the task of replacing a manager who seamlessly fits into the club’s model begins, with the Seagulls needing to get the appointment spot on if the upward trajectory they have begun to witness under Potter previously is to remain.
In that light, Brighton has turned their attention toward highly-touted Bodø/Glimt manager Kjetil Knutsen in the hopes of prizing him away from north of the Arctic Circle before play is to resume in the Premier League in the wake of the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Under Knutsen’s guidance Bodø has become a domestic powerhouse in the Eliteserien in recent seasons, helping the club to a second-place finish in 2019 before winning the league in both 2020 and 2021; the first two league titles in the club’s history.
On his CV is a cadre of credible results as well, highlighted by none other than a 6-1 thrashing of AS Roma last season during the group stage of the Europa Conference League while Den Gule Horde would go on to finish second in Group C behind the Romans while going undefeated.
Their credible continental campaign would then continue on their way to the quarterfinals of the competition after walking past Celtic (5-1 aggregate), and AZ Alkmaar (4-3 aggregate) before a rematch against José Mourinho saw them succumb to a 5-2 aggregate defeat despite winning the first leg 2-1 at home.
Knutsen would see the development of young talent the likes of Jens Petter Hauge, Erik Botheim, Fredrik Björkan, Julian Faye Lund, Patrick Berg, and Victor Boniface, offering a profile of manager that would seemingly be fully capable of continuing Brighton’s remit of moving smartly in the transfer market for player assets that can be developed and appreciate in value while aiming to continue to push its way up the table and begin to flirt with the top-seven places on a yearly basis.
Though Brighton is considering other managerial options, including Sassuolo’s Roberto De Zerbi, Knutsen could very likely be the right man for the job.