Brighton CEO Paul Barber could not resist aiming a cheeky little dig at Chelsea after the west London club repeatedly raided them over the past six months – though he would do business with the Blues again in the future.
Potter took five members of his backroom staff with him while recruitment duo Kyle Macauley and Paul Winstanley also swapped the Amex for Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea then tried to raid Brighton again in the January window, making an approach for Moises Caicedo – who they are still believed to retain an interest in – while they have also been linked with a swoop for Alexis Mac Allister.
The west London club’s new owners have spent huge sums since taking charge, around £600m in fact, and Barber could not resist teasing his big-spending counterparts.
Speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football Summit on Thursday, the Brighton CEO joked: ‘I am happy to pick up the phone to Chelsea anytime as well, absolutely fine.
‘Apart from when it’s for our coaches. I have told the cleaning staff to be careful, you never know, they may be head-hunted as well!’
He continued: ‘In all seriousness, a club of our size can only really compete if we trade well.
‘All the other things football clubs should be doing anyway, we should be selling out our stadium, and getting the best sponsors. For us, Premier League revenue is really important, the TV revenue is critical to what we do.
‘The only way we can really compete and generate a profit for our owner is to trade well and that means finding players that other clubs are not finding, getting them from markets that are less developed and therefore cheaper, coaching those players well, developing them well and ultimately if they do well selling them on at a profit.’
He added: ‘Getting into the Premier League was really important; staying there was just as important, selling out the stadium was critical, getting global sponsors on board was very important.
‘Now we are into a mode where player trading is as important as any of the other things and that means we have to fish in different ponds.
‘We are never going to be able to compete with the biggest clubs in the world to find the best players or buy them at the top of the market. We have got to find players that are not yet developed, that we can develop, and then ultimately sell on.’
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