The summer transfer window is creeping up and it will swing open before we know it. Chelsea was the world’s most active player in the market last summer and although the results aren’t exactly there, a majority of transfers have succeeded. There will be a plethora of rumors in the coming months regarding an overall plan, and perhaps specific players, the Blues are going to set their sights on.
One of the biggest criticisms of Chelsea’s transfer strategy under Frank Lampard was the fact the club would expect results right away, which was too unrealistic given the number of new faces around Cobham. Those critics were proven right as these problems rose to the surface and the young English manager was axed. Thomas Tuchel is now the man in charge of the Blues. Although he’s getting results, he’s kicked a number of Lampard’s favorites to the curb—including individuals purchased last summer. This harsh reality is that the club should stay away from another mass influx of fresh faces in the coming months.
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The rumors of another war chest of cash being available this summer will be enough to excite Chelsea fans to the point where they will not even question the moves. One cannot blame them either—names like Gianluigi Donnarumma, Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and David Alaba speak for themselves. However, a large squad overhaul means more time needed to adjust to a fresh environment and in most cases, a new country.
Another overlooked aspect is the time it takes to create bonds between teammates.
The current side lacks cohesiveness and that can largely be attributed to the reliance on new players. Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy have been around the block a few times, so they’ve fit in seamlessly. The same cannot be said for individuals like Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz though. Their struggles have directly translated to the play of the team. The Blues have looked better under Tuchel, but it’s no coincidence the unfamiliar attack is the unit not firing on all cylinders at the moment.
The same problems would prevail if Chelsea spends big on a plethora of players again. The Blues simply cannot add four or five new faces to the starting XI if they want to retain any level of success next season. If they do, they’ll just be repeating the events of this season all over again; the difference being Tuchel won’t have the Coronavirus schedule as an excuse to fall back on.
The Premier League’s best—Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool (injuries have played a large part in its disappointing showing this season, but make no mistake, it is still a fantastic team)—have all brought in their fair share of high value individuals over the years. The difference between those clubs and Chelsea though is the fact their starting XIs remain relatively unchanged, the west Londoners’ did not. Two or three positions are filled with fresh faces and the slow integration allows the success to continue. This is why players like Bruno Fernandes and Ruben Dias have made such an instant impact; they walk into established, well-oiled machines. Werner, Havertz and Ziyech weren’t given this luxury.
On the flip side, there is an argument to be made that the Blues do need an overhaul, especially if Tuchel is to stick with the 3-4-3. Antonio Conte wanted to replace Marcos Alonso with a world class left wingback back in 2018 and Chelsea supporters have wanted Jorginho out of the line-up since Maurizio Sarri departed in the summer of 2019. Cesar Azpilicueta, Olivier Giroud and Silva are nearing the end of their careers; the wingers have been underwhelming. These are all legitimate gripes, but that does not mean the Blues should go into full rebuild mode. According to fans, the club currently employs a lot of deadwood and if that was the case, half of the starting XI would need replacing. Tuchel’s starting squad isn’t perfect, nobody is debating that, supporters just have a habit of making a situation seem more dire than it is in reality.
In the end, this all comes down to time. If Chelsea is going to continue to wash, rinse and repeat with managers and players, long-term success may never be attainable.
The Blues need to change their ways—plain and simple. That begins with giving the current team some time to settle before adding a handful of new players to the mix. Two or three acquisitions are fine, but anything more and the cohesiveness will suffer once again and we’re back to where we began to kick off this current campaign.