A new dawn at Chelsea FC.
Chelsea FC are under new management after Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was forced out of the club by the UK government last season. The Russian who is a close ally of Putin was targeted because of the ongoing war between Russian and Ukraine. Even before that however, he had been denied entry into the UK on the same grounds of being an ally of the Russian President. When it was finally announced that the club was being put on sale, Chelsea fans worldwide were keen to show their discomfort on the issue. And for obvious reasons.
Abramovich and Chelsea FC.
Abramovich bought the club in 2003 from former owner Ken Bates for only $190 Million. What followed was something from a movie script. He invested massively in the club by building ultra-modern facilities throughout his time as owner of the London Club. Most importantly he invested massive amounts of money into the playing team. When he saw that the title would not come with the then manager Claudio Ranierri (the same that outrageously won the league with Leicester) he went a notch higher. Hiring European Champion Jose Mourinho was the pinnacle of the revolution. Jose won back to back titles built on a team that acted as a strong defensive unit and deadly on the break.
Although he would also part with Jose three years later, the team did not stop winning. Under Roman, Chelsea won other three premiership titles, two Champions league titles. The key to the success was definitely the ability to spend heavily on transfers. But also his ruthlessness with firing managers. Chelsea have most notably had legendary managers like Real Madrid maestro Carlo Ancelotti and North London outfit tactician, Antonio Conte.
Enter Todd Boehly…
The big question right now is if the Todd Boehly led consortium can continue with that winning mentality.
First things first. The consortium bought the club at an estimated 2.5 Billion Euros. The start to life at the London club for the new management has been eventful if not controversial. The end of last season leading to preseason tournament has been reported as being “dull”. Firstly, Thomas Tuchel is said to have had a dressing room dilemma with several players showing intention to leave the club. The dressing room was already torn even before the management issues arose.
Trouble at the top.
Secondly, Tuchel also felt that by the owners doing away with Marina and Petr Cech they left him with a huge task in the transfer market which he did not like to shoulder. The former Borussia Dortmund manager is also said to have disagreed on the transfer strategy to be employed.
When it seemed that Cristiano Ronaldo was destined to leave Manchester United in the summer, Todd Boehly is said to have had a meeting with Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes. A move that Tuchel did not like. It is even said that when Boehly had a meeting on contract negotiations he was frequently asking questions on the Brighton manager at that time Graham Potter. But the season began anyway and Tuchel was shockingly sacked and Potter took over at Chelsea. The big question has always been why Todd Boehly spent in excess of 300 million Euros much when they knew they were going to sack Tuchel.
Apart from marquee signings such as that of Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and English forward Raheem Sterling, Todd Boehly also invested in young players. Most notably Carney Chukwuemweka from Aston Villa. This shows that the new owners have a long term vison going forward. Keen observers are noting that Todd Boehly wishes adapt from Fenway Sports Group running of Liverpool. Sources within the club also say that the new owners are keen on acquiring a feeder club either in Netherlands or Portugal. What shall happen will be seen with time? What is known is the team’s current state.
The press release by the owner on the sacking revealed their intentions. Thomas Tuchel was not the man they had in the vision of the club. The swift signing of a committed Graham Potter only went ahead to dispel any doubts of his admiration for the Brighton manager. What’s more fascinating is that he has been awarded a five year contract meaning the consortium see him as the man.
Chelsea under Graham Potter has been an improvement compared to the latter stages of the Thomas Tuchel era. The Blues have convincingly qualified for the next stage of The UEFA Champions league which they beat Italian giants AC Milan convincingly. Some of the victories in the PL have been impressive with the team conceding less goals since potter took over. But the fans should not be deceived. Chelsea are still way far off from contesting for the title they last won in 2017. In some games they struggle to create chances. Most notably at Crystal Palace when a superb Conor Gallagher strike saved them from sharing the spoils. A bizarre first half performance against Manchester United is also a cause for worry.
It is safe to say though that Graham potter has not found his way yet and needs time. This is either a disaster waiting to happen or a relationship written in the stars. Lets wait and see what’s in store for Chelsea FC.
To read the article on Liverpool click https://punchonpress.com/2022/10/22/liverpool-challenging-for-top-titles/