With Julian Nagelsmann and Erik ten Hag no longer potential options for Tottenham Hotspur’s vacant manager position, Brighton manager Graham Potter has been linked with the role.
football.london understands a number of Tottenham players would back a move for the current Seagulls manager with his style of play leaving a lasting impression on some of them, football.london also understands that Tottenham’s ideal next manager must be progressive, attack-minded, employ possession-based football and fit into the club’s culture.
On the face of it, Potter would fit the bill, particularly given Brighton’s progressive and possession-orientated style of play. However, the Seagulls haven’t been particularly impressive this season are currently 14th in the Premier League having earned 37 points in 34 games.
In addition to Potter, managers like Brendan Rodgers, Julen Lopetegui, Antonio Conte, Scott Parker and others have also been linked with Spurs in recent weeks.
With the speculation and links to Potter intensifying, we simulated the 2021/22 season on Football Manager 2021 to see what could happen if the Brighton manager did join Spurs next season.
We appointed Graham Potter as Tottenham manager
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2021 editor to arrange for Brighton manager Graham Potter to become Spurs manager on June 1, 2021 and then used Football Manager 2021 to run our simulation.
Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. The latest edition of the game, FM21, is out now on PC, Mac, Mobile, Touch and Xbox.
The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs.
Data is sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people, among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.
This is what Potter’s manager profile looks like on Football Manager 2021 as of July 2021, which showcases his tactical style and managerial tendencies.
Potter has tendencies to sign under-24 players for the first team, use young players in low priority cups, plays out of defence and uses intense pressing, and he does not tend to rely on set pieces or sit back and protect a lead. All good so far!
Before we get into the simulation, let’s look at the transfer business that was done at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the summer of 2021, with Graham Potter at the helm.
Spurs spent just under £100 million in the summer of 2021, but that was offset by almost £40 million in player sales.
Erik Lamela (Shakhtar), Davinson Sanchez (Lille), Serge Aurier (Real Sociedad), Moussa Sissoko (Lokomotiv Moscow), Danny Rose (free), Harry Winks (loan), Joe Rodon (loan), Oliver Skipp (loan) and Matt Doherty (loan) all left the club.
In their place came Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City), Mark Bartra (Real Betis), Valentin Rosier (Sporting), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Mykola Matvienko (Shakhtar), Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Flamengo) and Diogo Dalot (loan).
Following the transfer window, this is how Potter’s first season at Spurs went.
Despite having a preference for a 5-2-1-2 formation at Brighton, Potter preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation at Spurs, which matches his managerial profile.
The current Seagulls manager built his Spurs side around a midfield two of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele, with Heung-min Son playing from the left as normal, with Harry Kane as the main forward and Dele Alli as a floating number ten.
Although Potter successfully transitioned the side into a possession-oriented style of play, this didn’t lead to particularly impressive attacking stats, with Spurs scoring only 55 goals in 38 games.
However, this possession style did lead to a huge improvement in their defensive record, with only Man City and Liverpool conceding fewer than Spurs’ 34 goals in 38 games.
To put that into context, Spurs scored 61 goals in 38 games in 2019/20 but conceded 47.
In this current campaign, Spurs have already scored 60 goals in 34 games, conceding 38.
This rather conservative approach saw players like Kane and Son score far fewer goals than in previous campaigns.
Kane only scored 17 goals in 49 games in all competitions, although he did also register 14 assists. Son was the only other player to hit double figures.
At the end of every season, FM21 work out the best 11 of every team, based on a number of key metrics.
This is how Spurs’ best performing XI, as decided by Football Manager 2021, looked at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Full Spurs best XI: Lloris; Dalot, Dier, Foyth, Reguilon; Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Pereira, Alli, Son; Kane.
New signing Periera started the season as a full-back, but such was his impact in attacking areas, Potter moved him into the right forward position and played there for most of the campaign, with Dalot making 30 appearances at right-back.
Juan Foyth became a key player in defence, despite the signing of Marc Bartra, with Ryan Sessegnon also part of the first-team fold.
So, how did Spurs actually perform in the Premier League with Potter as manager?
Here is how the final 2021/22 Premier League table looked in our simulated season.
Despite the relatively poor attacking stats, Potter still managed to guide Spurs to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League.
Potter’s Tottenham earned 68 points in 38 games, just one more ahead of fifth-place Chelsea and four ahead of sixth-place Arsenal.
This points tally is a huge improvement over Spurs’ current haul of 56 points from 34 games, and nine points better than they managed in 2019/20.
However, that’s about as good as it got for Potter, with Spurs going out of the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League at the early stages.
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Overall, this simulation suggests that whilst Potter’s brand of football might not be particularly impressive in terms of goalscoring, a change to possession-orientated football could improve their defensive record and see them claim a Champions League place in 2021/22 under Potter, with a fourth-place Premier League finish.
As always, this is just a bit of fun, but it’s interesting to see what kind of impact FM21 suggests Potter could have at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next season.
Would you be happy to see Graham Potter appointed as Spurs manager?