The most important transfer cost nothing: Chelsea in check

The most important transfer cost nothing: Chelsea in check

How did the transfer window go?

Turbulent as ever since the club was taken over by Todd Boehly and his comrades-in-arms. And yet it had little to do with last season’s 600 million euro madness. The bloated squad, which had missed out on the European Cup after finishing 12th in the Premier League, was massively thinned out, the biggest weak point, scoring goals, with Bundesliga top scorer Christopher Nkunku (Leipzig) and Nicolas Jackson (Villarreal) being worked on in a promising way, while Kai Havertz’ Sale to Arsenal generated important revenue.

In midfield, the bloodletting was greatest with Mateo Kovacic (ManCity), Mason Mount (ManUnited), Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic (both Milan) and N’golo Kanté (Al-Ittihad). No wonder the blues have been vying for a six for weeks. First it was about Moises Caicedo, for whom Brighton is adamantly demanding a three-digit million sum, now suddenly about Romeo Lavia (Southampton). The transfer plus that actually exists at the moment will not remain, especially since further newcomers are to come, not just since Nkunku’s knee surgery.

What is hope and what is worry?

The Blues got the most important signing on a free transfer: manager Mauricio Pochettino could prove to be a coup because Chelsea need what he does best. As with Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham, the 51-year-old Argentinian should give a young, insecure team security and orientation with a clear game idea. Pochettino enjoys two advantages. First: It can only get better. Second: It doesn’t have to be the title.

“We’re building something special here,” said the fifth Chelsea coach since the end of the Abramovich era to the Guardian, and that was “medium and long-term”; Ambitious as always, he does not rule out that the “special” will already have an impact in 2023/24. “You never know in football.” The fact that he can train a lot without English weeks certainly suits Pochettino when he starts.

Because after the necessary conversion in the summer, it could still be a while before players and coaches find each other. And patience, which Pochettino enjoyed at previous stations (except PSG), the bosses around Boehly had once promised Graham Potter (contract until 2027). Nkunku missing at least the first few weeks of the season is a major setback. In addition, the central defense remains a construction site: Kalidou Koulibaly is gone (Al-Hilal), Wesley Fofana injured (cruciate ligament rupture), Thiago Silva next month 39. The U-21 European champion Levi Colwill (20), who was last loaned to Brighton, has a good chance of getting started . He is considered a huge talent.


The young blues – the new captain was 23-year-old Reece James – will play for the European Cup places. Which one also depends on whether Nkunku confirms his promising first impressions after his recovery, whether a central midfielder like Caicedo comes along – and whether Boehly forgives the team and coaches for phases of weakness, which will certainly not be absent. A place in the top six is ​​realistic.


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