In the modern footballing world, money is everything, and all sports news coming out of England right now revolves around Chelsea FC.
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Troubles with Goals Against
Thomas Tuchel remarked earlier this week that he hoped the Antonio Rudiger saga had concluded differently. Tuchel and the Chelsea board asked the star center-back for a little bit more time before making his decision, to await the new owner’s selection.
But, Rudiger’s team has instead chosen to join Real Madrid at the end of the summer, a huge loss for Chelsea who was defeated by Los Blancos in a fascinating fixture in the quarterfinals of this year’s Champions League.
Rudiger’s decision is the first straw to snap in the club’s epic contract negotiation attempts. Fellow defenders César Azpilicueta, and Andreas Christensen have contracts expiring in the summer as well, and both have been linked to the other Spanish powerhouse, FC Barcelona.
Though Azpilicueta has been the captain of this Chelsea side for years now, he may see his time in England as complete, having won every trophy imaginable. The Spaniard known as ‘Dave’ around Stamford Bridge could see a return to his home country as appealing.
Christensen on the other hand has fluttered in form under Thomas Tuchel but is still one of his preferred center-backs in their 3-4-3 formation when healthy. Christensen’s deal was reportedly close to done back in the winter but has since stalled while Chelsea deals with Roman Abromovich’s departure.
What Does New Ownership Mean?
The Change in ownership is a problem for the future for a multitude of reasons. The first is money. The Russian billionaire was willing to spend hundreds of millions on players each window, and finding another owner who is willing to, and is able to throw away cash like that is unlikely.
The UK government’s sanctions on the team have also made it almost impossible for the team to accrue revenue during the majority of the spring while the board of directors must focus all their time solely on vetting the incoming bids. Time made for contract extension negotiations for the players has played second fiddle on the ladder of importance.
If Chelsea loses all three of these defenders and allows Emerson Palmieri to leave the club after his contract reaches its end during his latest loan spell, they’ll have just six experienced first-team defenders. One is Malang Sarr, who has been less than impressive all year long, and another is Marcos Alonso, whose inability to defend opposing wingers has forced manager Tuchel into playing all kinds of wacky formations to stop the bleeding.
Though Reece James and Ben Chilwell will remain on the books, their injuries are a concern, and 37-year-old Thiago Silva can’t have many good years ahead of him. Chelsea recently sold young defenders Marc Guehi, Tariq Lamptey, and Tino Livramento, with all proving to be integral parts of their respective EPL teams. Only Livramento has a buy-back clause.
The mess in defense is one issue, but all around the pitch, Chelsea is going to have to make some changes. Jorginho has become more of a liability in the last year, while N’Golo Kante has only one year remaining on his deal, and because of his injuries, likely won’t be resigned.
Wingers Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech haven’t been consistent enough and both have failed to live up to their price tags. Forwards Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku can both be fairly categorized as huge misses, though their contracts run much longer than Chelsea would now hope.
Chelsea’s managerial history suggests that as soon as Tuchel has a poor month as manager, he’ll be out. Even if that never happens, his salary runs through just two more seasons, and his history of negotiating with owners for a new deal is very spotty. The likelihood of him being around much longer is looking very bleak.
It’s going to have to be a youth revival, and Cobham Academy is going to have to find ways to produce more stars, quickly. The old guard is moving out, and unless Chelsea’s new owner understands the value of their money, it might be more of the same, or much worse for Chelsea in the next five years.
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