To say that Todd Boehly is playing Football Manager at Chelsea is too simplistic and wide of the mark, such is the infrastructure he is trying to create at the club. But to work out the Blues’ transfer activities moving forward, it is easier to compare them to a video game.
Simply put, having already spent over £250m on transfers over the summer, as well as a compensation package for Thomas Tuchel and a fee to Brighton for securing Graham Potter, the money isn’t just going to keep coming. Boehly will have hoped for better results from those that he did buy in the summer, but Chelsea’s current state – eighth in the league – indicates plenty more is still to be done.
Potter faces the bulk of a rebuild. Although this is partially being explored with the continued investment into youth players, the readily available squad has fallen short this season and needs some fresh blood and better long-term management. But, Boehly isn’t just a money pit.
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The new owners have come in to make Chelsea an efficient machine, albeit over time, so there won’t be endless amounts of cash flowing in. In Football Manager terms, ‘request more funds’ may well not be an option for too long, and when the reserves of the budget run out, Potter may not be getting more that quickly.
This is, of course, an overly 2D way of viewing transfers, but to give it context, if Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice are to be truly pursued, as well as Josko Gvardiol and Rafael Leao, there wouldn’t be much, if any, change from another £250m. There is also likely to be more areas that need improving.
At right-back Chelsea have a major lack of options. With Reece James injured, Cesar Azpilicueta having not returned from Qatar and Ruben Loftus-Cheek currently getting treatment in Abu Dhabi, there are no fit senior right-backs or wingbacks in the squad for warm weather training.
It is necessary to sign someone as cover in that position, and of quality to adequately push James as well as be a rotational option, but given the calibre of targets in other positions there will need to be some shrewd work done to secure a good deal for all parties.
On this note, an unlikely choice has emerged from Old Trafford with Manchester United’s own fullback decision becoming apparent. Transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano reports that Portugal star Diogo Dalot is set to be offered a new contract at the club, whilst former Crystal Palace man Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be allowed to leave.
Two years ago it felt that things would be very much the opposite for the pair, but Wan-Bissaka has struggled to impress new manager Erik ten Hag, and has only played four minutes of football all season. He has been recovering from a back injury but has nevertheless also failed to make a breakthrough for the Red Devils.
As he enters the last 18-months of his contract there, Chelsea could look to pick up a cut-price option for their own right-back woes.
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