This could well be the most significant moment in Chelsea’s history.
Having been bought by the Boehly consortium for $5.2 billion in one of the most expensive deals in sports history, a new chapter is beginning for the club.
Under Roman Abramovich they won 19 trophies in 19 years. Will the new owners be able to replicate that success? The Russian oligarch took the team to new heights and made them the big club that they are today. Before his arrival, they were literally just making up the numbers in the Premier League. But he bankrolled them to silverware and success that the fans had only ever dreamed of. Domestic and European accomplishments became the norm and the Blues were suddenly a team to be feared.
Address several issues
His tenure has come to an end and now the Boehly consortium have taken up the mantle. They must now look to the future and address several issues.
First of all, they will need to show that they love the club, just as Abramovich clearly did, in order to create a connection with the fans. Building a bond between them will be vital to allow them time to get their plans in place and see them come to fruition.
The most important task in the intray is to back the manager, Thomas Tuchel, and stop the quest for instant success employed by Abramovich. When things were not going the team’s way it was the manager who ultimately paid the price. The Blues have had many high profile coaches in a very short space of time but Tuchel has proven he can lead the team for many years to come. They need to stop the constant chopping and changing that the club has become known for. Abramovich’s reign saw 13 different managers take charge but he leaves with the German arguably the best of the lot and a suitable long-term option. He has already won them the Champions League and has put together a united squad which bodes well for the future.
There are several players out of contract and set to leave but if they can be retained it will only benefit the team. Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger’s situations need to be addressed quickly and Tuchel has said he wants the pair to stay at Stamford Bridge. The new owners need to do everything they can to make this happen and also summer transfer additions need to be planned. Tuchel must be allowed to bring in the players that he wants and there are several long-term targets the Blues have been chasing such as Declan Rice from West Ham.
Then comes the big stadium debate. Stamford Bridge, their home since 1905, is one of the finest football grounds in Europe but it only has a 41,000 seat capacity. This pales in comparison to the likes of Old Trafford or Anfield and even their London neighbours Arsenal and Tottenham. Abramovich had planned to rebuild the Bridge and increase the capacity to 60,000 which would have closed the gap between their competitors. This still needs to be done.
The new owners will be working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the club competitive on and off the field otherwise they risk becoming also-rans once again. From all the highs that they have experienced in the past two decades, Chelsea simply cannot afford to take any backward steps now.