We knew there might be some growing pains for Chelsea FC as they shifted from one era of ownership to another. In Todd Boehly, and his Clear Lake Capital consortium, the money will still be there to invest in the roster, just as it was under Roman Abramovich.
However, Boehly has done a very poor job this summer transfer window, with his direct, hands-on approach. Jules Kounde is the latest example of that.
Strongly linked with Kounde this summer, and reportedly very close to signing him last week, the Sevilla defender has chosen FC Barcelona instead.
Kounde was the top name linked with the southwest London club, from early on, this summer. It is telling they missed out on their top target.
And it means Chelsea have only signed two new players this summer, Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibay.
Both are very solid pickups, it should be said, but this transfer window has seen the gap between Stamford Bridge and Manchester City/Liverpool widen, not tighten.
City and Liverpool made big splash signings, and they got them over the line very early. Chelsea, by contrast, was the last of the big six to make a new signing, and it remains to be seen who is still out there for them to get before deadline day gets here.
Clearly, the turnover at the very top has had some adverse effects. Marina Granovskaia, Abramovich’s right-hand woman and the roster architect. So did front office man supreme Bruce Buck and club legend/influential advisor Petr Cech.
The club is going to need some time to recover from those personnel losses. Then you have the results on the pitch too. Although we have to be fair here and remember that preseason friendly final scores do not matter.
But tell that to manager Thomas Tuchel, who fumed at his club’s dismal showing on their preseason tour of the United States.
They lost 2/3 in America, including a 4-0 thrashing by Arsenal in the Florida Cup and an L at the hands of a MLS side. So we won’t really know, until the season opener against Everton, whether or not thes exhibition match setbacks were indicative of what’s to come.
Maybe they’ll flip the switch when it mattes.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks