Chelsea have announced the appointment of Graham Potter as their new head coach on a five-year contract.
Potter, who joins the Blues less than 48 hours after the sacking of manager Thomas Tuchel, guided Brighton to their highest finish of ninth in the Premier League last season.
Potter said: “I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club.
“I am very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of.
“I would also like to place my sincere thanks to Brighton & Hove Albion for allowing me this opportunity.”
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly believes Potter fits his vision for the future at Stamford Bridge.
“We are thrilled to bring Graham to Chelsea. He is a proven coach and an innovator in the Premier League who fits our vision for the club,” Boehly said.
“Not only is he extremely talented on the pitch, he has skills and capabilities that extend beyond the pitch which will make Chelsea a more successful club.
“He has had a major impact at his previous clubs and we look forward to his positive impact at Chelsea. We look forward to supporting him, his coaching team and the squad in realising their full potential in the coming months and years.”
Potter leaves Brighton after making another impressive start to the season.
The Seagulls sit fourth in the Premier League having won four and drawn one of their first six matches, despite the big-money sales of Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella over the summer.
Chairman Tony Bloom said: “I am very disappointed that Graham will be leaving us. He has done exceptionally well over the past three-and-a-bit seasons, he is an exceptional head coach and an exceptional person. He will be hugely missed at our football club.
“He leaves an excellent legacy for his successor with the club in its highest ever position, and on the back of leading us to our highest finish in the club’s history last season.”
Brighton Under-21s coach Andrew Crofts will lead the first team as interim head coach.
Potter’s first game in charge of Chelsea will be Saturday’s Premier League trip to Fulham.
Chelsea are understood to have made initial contact with Mauricio Pochettino and Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim, as well as considering Zinedine Zidane and even Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers.
But Potter was always considered the top target of the club’s new board.
Tuchel was sacked by Chelsea on Wednesday morning, amid mounting discord with the new board and growing issues with the players.
Former Paris St Germain coach Tuchel led Chelsea to the 2021 Champions League title, then the 2022 Club World Cup crown.
But the German paid the price for disharmony with the Blues’ new owners, who were left feeling unable to see Tuchel at the centre of their revamp.
Potter is understood to have asked for assurances about the new Chelsea owners’ plans to fashion a set-up for managers to make long-term plans that they then actually also carry out.
The former Swansea boss was impressed with what he heard in face-to-face meetings, paving the way for the deal to be wrapped up quickly.