£4.25 billion for Chelsea
Chelsea’s ownership officially changed: Todd Boehley replaces Roman Abramovich
Chelsea’s acquisition deal is officially closed. Control of the club passes to a consortium, which is equally managed by American billionaire Todd Boehley and Clearlake Capital. Todd Boely is not the first day in sports, he is co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club, and Chelsea tried to buy back in 2019, but then Roman Abramovich flatly rejected an offer of 3 billion pounds.
This time Abramovich, in fact, witnessed the sale of his soccer asset, the former owner will not see the money either, but we are talking about a record deal in the history of sports: no one has ever paid 4.25 billion pounds for a sports club or franchise. The new owners intend to invest in key areas of development, including plans to renovate Stamford Bridge, want to expand Chelsea’s capabilities and increase the competitiveness of the team. For now, however, these are just pretty words:
“We are honored to be the new guardians of Chelsea Football Club. We will give 100% for every minute of every match. Our vision as owners is: we want the fans to be proud of us. Along with our ambition to develop the youth squad and acquire top talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long term and build on Chelsea’s outstanding success story.
Everyone get ready for a busy summer
The proper functioning of a soccer club, especially one as big as Chelsea, is ensured by day-to-day work in a variety of ways. Due to sanctions, an impending ownership change and government pressure, Chelsea’s normal operations have been effectively frozen for the past three months, and the consequences of this disruption will have to be dealt with by the new owners. What has happened to the club has not inspired confidence in the bright future, which has affected the results and the loyalty of some players who have concentrated on alternative options for continuing their careers.
Some negotiations over new contracts have stalled, with two central defenders, Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, leaving Stamford Bridge as free agents and heading to Spain. Nothing can be done in these two cases, but there are situations that can still be rectified. We need to act quickly, effectively and with full awareness of the sporting strategy. Specific personnel decisions are needed – who to keep, who to let go, who to offer a new contract to? The new owners have to catch up with the last month, they have to give Chelsea a clear outline and a pronounced form, lost in recent months.
Aspilicueta, Kante, Alonso and Jorginho could leave Chelsea
The situation is complicated by the fact that a whole group of players’ contracts expire next summer. Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso have already expressed a desire to return to Spain, with Barcelona showing interest in the defenders. In other circumstances, this summer might have been the right time to part ways with the unseasoned Spaniards but Thomas Tuchel and the Blues’ fans are clearly frightened by the scale of the defensive change: to lose Rüdiger, Christensen, Alonso and Aspilicueta all at once is a bit too much.
And the loss of the defense may not be enough: the contracts of Ngolo Kante and Jorginho expire in 2023, this situation can be used by other clubs, the Frenchman is definitely in demand from the European top sides, Jorginho admitted that he was approached by the Italian clubs. The problem is that the number of changes always affects the quality of negotiations and decisions, the more so that the process should be managed by the people who have not yet got used to the club.
Chelsea have no time to look for point-to-point replacements, and during the mass purchases the chance to make a mistake is always higher, and the mistake can be made at the stage of making a decision in the contract extension note, and at the stage of searching for a replacement. Again, if the team remained stable, the age and injury-prone Jorginho and Kante could be replaced, but is it wise in the current circumstances to destroy the midfield following the defense? And there’s Lukaku sitting on his suitcases and dreaming of a return to Inter, which means we have to look for a forward at the same time.
Rebuilding the team is inevitable, but Chelsea have at least two options
Thomas Tuchel described last season as “difficult”, but admitted he enjoyed leading his players forward under pressure. Well, the Blues probably have another difficult season ahead, only in a different sense. There will be a lot of personnel changes, we will have to establish new connections and re-organize the work of whole lines.
As far as I’m concerned, the new owners have two options now: evolutionary and revolutionary. The first way is to fix all the moving parts of the team, minimize the changes, and postpone most of the momentous personnel decisions to quieter times. Revolutionary means decisions should be made with an eye to the long term, that is, the team will go through a global rebuild, perhaps even to the detriment of the 2022/23 season, which will be transitional. Which path do you think Todd Boehli will choose