Frank Leboeuf tells Chelsea to replace two players and explains why he wouldn’t sack Graham Potter
Frank Leboeuf has urged Chelsea to replace two players and explained why he wouldn’t sack under-fire manager Graham Potter.
Chelsea have slipped to 10th in the Premier League – 10 points outside the Champions League places – since Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat.
Despite the club’s alarming run of form, Leboeuf says Potter needs time to create a team in his image and was never going to have an instant impact like Tuchel or Jose Mourinho.
But the former Chelsea defender has raised concerns about two members of Potter’s squad, insisting that struggling striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Jorginho must be replaced.
Aubameyang has only scored three goals in 16 appearances for Chelsea following a deadline-day move from Barcelona last summer, while Jorginho is struggling to have the same impact on games as he did earlier in his Blues career.
‘Jorginho has served the club very well but he’s nowhere near it anymore,’ Leboeuf wrote in a column for Chelsea News.
‘I had my time at Chelsea and people made it clear that John Terry was coming and I had to make way for him, and that’s understandable. That’s life.
‘There is a present and there is a past, and the future is not for us. You have to accept that.
‘I do like the way Jorginho plays, but he’s too slow when he has the ball, and defensively he doesn’t participate enough for me.’
On Aubameyang, Leboeuf added: ‘I’m not sure Potter has the players that he wants. We all know that we need a striker.
‘I like Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, I played with his father and I love him, but I know that he’s not the guy we needed. They asked me at ESPN if I was OK with him and I said no it’s too late, he’s not the Aubameyang we knew.
‘We can talk about Marcus Thuram, but he is not a striker, we need a striker. Romelu Lukaku didn’t work out, but Chelsea need a striker, someone who is able to create and score goals, because that is lacking right now.’
Chelsea eased the pressure on manager Potter with a narrow 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend.
But the Blues remain way off the top-four and look set to endure a transitional season, failing to challenge for trophies.
Despite this, Leboeuf said of Potter: ‘Overall, I am behind him. We all knew when he signed what we could expect from him and he needs to be able to build the team and the new spirit of the club.
‘It would have been crazy to think he is going to change everything in a second. It’s not possible and it doesn’t work like that.
‘He’s not the guy who comes like Mourinho or maybe Tuchel, and is not going to change the spirit of the team just like that. He’s going to have to prove to the players what he wants.
‘I’m behind him because I know it will take some time, but he has to be clear with what he wants to do, and the board has to be clear.
‘I was expecting someone from the club to talk and say “OK, that’s what we want to do, give us some time we are going to go through bad times, yes we are Chelsea and we know your expectations, but that’s what it is after a year of not doing well, we have to recreate something, an atmosphere in the dressing room, a way to play, more vertical way of playing, but at a Chelsea level.”
‘And everybody would have understood that, but the message wasn’t clear and the performances have been horrendous.’
Chelsea travel to Anfield on Saturday to face Liverpool, who are one place above the Blues following a similarly worrying run.
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