Chelsea’s lavish transfer spending hasn’t made them better

Chelsea have spent a reported £274m on new players and a manager change since the end of last season, but they somehow managed to make things worse. Those are some of the accomplishments of the club’s new owners, a consortium led by Todd Boley, part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. But at least for now, head coach Graham Potter is bearing the brunt of the criticism for underachievement and underperformance.

As it always has been, Potter, whose side are eighth in the Premier League, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, will not be under the illusion that his fortunes will always be directly tied to results on the pitch. Now, the results are dire (two wins from seven games, including four defeats), and this week’s two games against City – the Premier League and the FA Cup – could get worse before they get better.

When Porter arrived from Brighton in September as the successor to the sacked Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea’s top brass, led by co-owner Bolly, sold him their vision for a new Chelsea. This is a club that looks at the long term and plans accordingly, and it will take a more academic approach, giving the bright young manager time to impose his approach on the team.

Roman Abramovich’s old Chelsea, which saw managers frequently hired and fired as they won big prizes, is clearly a thing of the past. But perhaps the idea was as naive as Chelsea’s recruitment after the change of ownership. That naivete was now starting to make Potter’s job that much more difficult. The 47-year-old is grappling with the challenges of managing a club as big as Chelsea and needs help, but he’s not alone in his studies at Stamford Bridge.

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Burleigh has personally overseen Chelsea’s recruitment and managerial changes since taking over at the club in the summer, and even his most devoted fans will struggle to suggest that the team are in a better position after six months in charge.

The recent hiring of former RB Leipzig technical director Christopher Weaver to a similar role at Chelsea should bring expertise to the football department, but in the short term Porter will still have to deal with a hand he has been dealt by Bolly: an unbalanced team. His team is full of defenders and desperately short of shooters. The manager could be blamed for failing to get many of his players to perform as expected, but it is debatable whether he would have signed many of them in the first place.



Mark Ogden is worried about Chelsea’s season after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Chelsea looked like a team without a coherent plan or strategy in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest. This is not far from reality.

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Porter has nothing to do with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who the club moved to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively as free agents in the summer. Boehly was also powerless to prevent the defender from leaving the club, but the new boss did sanction the £97.5m loan move of striker Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan and Timo Werner’s permanent return to RB Leipzig for £25m. That left Chelsea without a proven striker until they signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 33, from Barcelona for £10m at the end of the summer transfer window.

After signing England winger Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £47.5m, Burleigh also oversaw the £171m signing of defenders Kalidou Koulibaly (£33m), Marc Cucurella (£63m) and Wesley Fofana (£75m). GBP).

The club are now looking to sign RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku and defender Josko Gwadiol, despite reports that Chelsea have agreed a £32m deal for centre-back Benoit Badia, 21, from Monaco Hill. They are also prepared to trigger the £106m release clause of 21-year-old Enzo Fernandes at Benfica after the Argentine midfielder featured in the World Cup.

Under Bolly, Chelsea overpaid for most of their signings, and none of them did enough to justify the outlay. All of the above suggest that the new owner is playing fantasy football, rather than the club having a clear strategy for the needs of the transfer market. Porter has been dignifiedly silent on the ins and outs of his players so far, but Chelsea are 2+2 on goal difference, while Sterling and Kai Havertz are the top scorers in the Premier League with just 4 goals each , it’s clear where Chelsea’s priorities should lie in the January window.

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Porter has been hired to coach the team and leave player recruitment to someone else, so he’ll have to use what he has and what his superiors think he needs. But there are too many question marks about this Chelsea team, too many players not showing. Potter had to take some responsibility for this, he just had to do a better job with the tools at hand, but his bosses needed to do a better job too.

Football is full of clubs and owners who think that throwing money at problems is the fastest path to success, but the ones who do are usually those who get value for money through smart signings rather than expensive ones. Porter will inevitably pay the price if Chelsea don’t learn his lesson, but he won’t take full responsibility for his underperformance at Stamford Bridge.


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