It’s a new era for Chelsea, and a crucial summer transfer window awaits. June 10th will see the date that moves in the market can truly begin to take place, but the Blues will have to work fast after their takeover was only completed on May 31st.
Ahead of that point, Thomas Tuchel and co were limited in the work they could do to identify and acquire new talents. Sanctions meant that no new contracts could be entered into or transfers completed, and the Blues could not move further than the in-house work they do to prepare.
Tuchel said shortly before the end of the season: “You ask many times if we have a delay in approaching players and making plans, of course, a huge delay. We are affected by it, players are going out. We are rebuilding, not improving the squad. We are rebuilding. This is always challenging, but we are up for the challenge.”
“I don’t know where we are from day one. What I can promise is that I will be here – if I can promise that – I will be here with full energy and positive energy no matter what. We will still work for Chelsea, and I refuse to think of negative scenarios. We will be competitive, on which level we will see.
“On how the delay and sanctions will affect us, there is a risk. It will be very challenging to make up for the disadvantage, given the situation of the other two teams: City and Liverpool, who are already improving the squad and set one benchmark after the other in all aspects of the game.”
It will be no small task for new owner Todd Boehly to try and engineer a statement summer that sees the Blues stay competitive and gain ground on the Premier League’s best. A quest made no easier by needing to replace the likes of Antonio Rudiger, who will leave on a free transfer. Nevertheless, Boehly set out his stall in his first words following the takeover.
He said: “Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud. Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the Club for the long-term and build on Chelsea’s remarkable history of success.”
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia will be tasked with getting those deals over the line. Though reports have suggested the highly-regarded negotiator could depart the Blues in August, Granovskaia was spotted at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday with Boehly and work in the transfer market surely can’t be far away.
While Jules Kounde is perhaps set to be the Club’s first signing of a new era, the precedent Chelsea set may be more prevalent in whether they approach the high profile names they have been linked to in Mo Salah and Paul Pogba. The latter has departed Manchester United and been linked to Chelsea’s midfield in the past, in part due to his performances alongside N’Golo Kante for France, while it has been suggested Salah would like to stay in the Premier League if he does depart from Liverpool in 12 months time.
Chelsea have shown strength in recent windows in taking advantage of situations other clubs find themselves in, purchasing Romelu Lukaku from a financially struggling Inter Milan and acting quickly to activate a release clause for Timo Werner but still spent significant fees on the likes of the Belgian, Kai Havertz and a number of others. They have even seen the benefit of a free transfer in Thiago Silva and seen how others can also take advantage of the same situation with Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
However, even without a transfer fee, there would be a significant financial package to provide both players and their representatives. While such signings might tick Boehly’s box in acquiring the best talent, they are less sustainable for his long term plans. There will be no chance of a profit, and they would be moves that do not live up to the reputation the American brought with him.
It’s widely expected the Blues will take an approach more akin to Liverpool in their purchases going forward. There is little doubt the Reds will hope to keep him, but if they do not, there will probably be a reason why. Likewise, with Pogba, though Manchester United have earned a polar opposite reputation for their transfer business in comparison to their northwest rivals, landing a player already at their peak because of the opportunity rather than the fit with the Club is perhaps not the message Chelsea hope to send.
Granovskaia has shown her ability to go out and land a player for the Blues and received the plaudits for it from the fanbase and her peers. The players provided to her to target this summer will go a long way to dictating the philosophy Chelsea takes upon transfers for years to come.