Thomas Tuchel was “screaming for signings” at Chelsea but didn’t want Gabriel Jesus, as Todd Boehly’s amortisation tactic jeapardised the club signing a ‘big target’ before his Graham Potter regret.
Chelsea spent close to £600m in the first season under their new owners, have gone through four managers and finished in the bottom half of the Premier League for the first time this century. It’s been a disaster, and a Guardian report has allowed us to peek behind the curtain at Stamford Bridge.
There’s ‘widespread misery’ at the training ground as ‘players openly look to leave’, with the coaching staff said to be ‘shocked at the apathy in training’.
Todd Boehly has borne the brunt of the Chelsea criticism this season, with his list of mistakes lengthy and damning, and there’s ‘unease at the unflattering media portrayals’ of the American owner.
‘It was never the plan for Boehly to be so visible’, and there are claims that Behdad Eghbali, and business partner Jose E Feliciano, have been ‘the driving force behind several key decisions’ pinned on Boehly.
‘Boehly’s way is always to spend the first year getting under the skin of a new business’ before ‘deferring to experts once they are in situ’, which certainly chimes with recent reports that Boehly is set to dial back his involvement from 50 per cent to 20 as Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart take on sporting director duties.
But with Marina Granovskaia leaving in the summer, quickly followed by Petr Cech, whom the owners wanted to retain, Boehly was forced to step up as interim sporting director, leading to immediate tension with Tuchel.
The German boss was “screaming for signings”, particularly defenders, but ‘did not want to be involved in recruitment meetings’.
It ‘was not the plan’ to sack Tuchel, with the owners agreeing to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on his say-so.
The report claims ‘there was surprise when the idea of buying Gabriel Jesus from City was rejected’ by Tuchel.
There was ‘absolute faith’ in Graham Potter, as you would hope seeing as they spent over £20m to lure him from Brighton, and spirits were high leading to a ‘party atmosphere’ when Chelsea thrashed Milan 3-0 in the Champions League, as Feliciano gave Potter a toy Lamborghini as a joke referring to his so-called glow-up.
Potter warned against too many signings in January but was ignored, and also thought Enzo Fernandez, at £105m, was overpriced.
But Chelsea pressed ahead with signing young players on incentivised eight-year deals in an amortisation tactic to spread the cost of big transfer fees.
The owners feel the lengthy contracts will mean players would ‘feel they have the club’s support’ though it’s claimed at least ‘one big target told Chelsea he would never sign an eight-year deal’.
Faith in Potter ‘disappeared’ after Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Everton in March, with ‘alarm over his selections and substitutions’, with Eghbali ‘pushing hard’ for his sacking, though ‘recently Boehly has been heard wondering whether Potter should have had more time’.
But Lampard arrived as interim manager, who won just one of his 11 games, as Chelsea conducted a search that has led to Mauricio Pochettino, who has quite the job on his hands.