Chelsea in crisis – Boehly’s Potter sack chats, trio under fire, more
Graham Potter on Chelsea's defeat to Fulham
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There will have been unease at Chelsea about the transition after Roman Abramovich’s 19-year reign came to an end in May 2022. However, not many could have predicted the extent of the club’s crisis since Todd Boehly inherited his relentless silverware-scalping regime.
Chelsea have, quite frankly, descended into chaos.
As Abramovich’s final taste of gold, Thomas Tuchel won three trophies in the space of 10 months at Stamford Bridge – starting with the club’s second Champions League in May 2021 and finishing with the FIFA Club World Cup in February 2022.
Less than a year on, Boehly has sanctioned over £300m on 14 players, sacked Tuchel and appointed Graham Potter.
Chelsea suffered early exits from the FA Cup and EFL Cup and are slumped 10th in the Premier League, 10 points behind the Champions League spots.
Express Sport analyses five current ongoings in the Chelsea crisis, from January transfers to Potter’s future to hostility between players and fans.
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Potter sack talks
Potter has gone from securing a well-deserved dream job on the back of his impressive work with Brighton and Hove Albion to living a nightmare garnering more exposure than he could’ve imagined.
Chelsea have won just two of their last 10 games, losing seven, and there is a sense of increasing pressure, despite the Blues only appointing him in September.
Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique, Zidane Zidane and even Tuchel have been names banded around in speculation over who could replace Potter at the helm.
However, according to reports, Boehly is prepared to miss out on European football next season and has told his confidants that he’s willing to persist with poor results for long-term gain.
The American has been so strong with his stances that he would look ‘weak’ to the Clearlake investors if he were to perform a U-turn now, which suggests Potter’s job is safe, even if the shower of dire results continues.
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Blues trio under fire
Naturally, the relationship between players and fans is also growing toxic as Chelsea continue to be bettered on the pitch on a weekly basis.
A Blues trio didn’t make matters better for themselves by snubbing the away fans who witnessed Thursday’s defeat at Craven Cottage.
Marc Cucurella, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz reportedly didn’t go and thank the away supporters after full-time against Fulham, heading straight for the tunnel.
The Chelsea visiting support has garnered criticism from other fans in recent weeks for starting to chant about former duo Abramovich and Tuchel, slighting Boehly and Potter.
Some players may not have taken kindly to it, only fuelling the toxicity of the current situation.
Mudryk transfer view
Boehly has grown a reputation for ‘playing Football Manager in real life’ since becoming Chelsea owner due to regularly targeting hijacks from rival clubs.
It’s no different for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, for whom Arsenal are understood to be closing in on a deal.
Boehly has been spend-happy at Stamford Bridge, splashing £71m on Wesley Fofana, £58m on Marc Cucurella and £63m to bring Christopher Nkunku to the club next summer, among others.
Reports suggest Joao Felix’s arrival won’t stop Chelsea from trying to thwart Arsenal’s pursuit of Mudryk, with the Blues determined to lure him to west London.
But given the Gunners’ current status compared to Chelsea, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 22-year-old opt for the Emirates Stadium, which would be a damning reminder of the situation in itself.
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Chelsea’s decision to splash £9m on a six-month loan for Felix raised eyebrows, especially after he extended his Atletico Madrid contract until 2027 before joining.
But they actually looked to have sealed something of an upgrade in the first half against Fulham, as Felix looked lively and was unfortunate not to bag a debut goal.
Instead, he picked up a debut red card after Denis Zakaria was forced off through injury in a double blow to Potter’s depleted squad.
With his loan fee and salary included, Felix is set to cost Chelsea a staggering £2.1m while he’s sidelined through his three-game suspension.
You couldn’t write it. Potter will ponder whether he’s unlocked a curse since moving to the capital.
Boehly’s recruitment role
Boehly’s decision to step down from his self-appointed position on Chelsea’s transfer committee will be welcomed, handing over the reins to his new recruitment team.
He took charge of all transfer negotiations after Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech left their respective roles last summer but has been widely criticised.
Chelsea seem to have only gotten worse since he splashed £300m on 14 players, which some speculate weren’t entirely Tuchel or Potter’s preferred targets.
He also held transfer talks over Cristiano Ronaldo when the 37-year-old was looking for a way out of Old Trafford – an idea Tuchel shot down before his sacking.
But business improvements will be expected now an established set of staff is in place, with both incomings and outgoings.
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