Chelsea: Is now the time for a restructure?4 June 2019
Credit Photo – @ChelseaFC
When Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took control of Chelsea in 2003, his vision was to put them on a par with Europe’s elite.
Over the next decade and a half he has certainly done that, investing huge amounts of finance and resources to secure Chelsea’s place at Europe’s top table.
Under Abramovich’s tenure Chelsea have won 18 major honours, marking them out as English footballs most successful club during this period.
This success has certainly been achieved in an unconventional manner, with no fewer than ten managerial changes over the years.
Though this is more commonplace in Europe, most successful English clubs through history have thrived on managerial stability.
Not Chelsea though, and it appears certain to be all change again this summer as Maurizio Sarri’s exit, probably to Juventus, grows more likely by the day.
Sarri and his playing style has proved largely unpopular with the Chelsea fan base, although by delivering the Europa League and 3rd place in the Premier League, he’s proved successful somewhat.
Replacing the head coach is not the only issue of concern for Abramovich and Chelsea this time though.
There’s a coming together of circumstances which may lead to the club having to refine it’s philosophy somewhat.
In February, Chelsea were issued with a “two window” transfer ban by FIFA for irregularities in the signing of players under the age of 18.
The Stamford Bridge club have unsuccessfully appealed the sanction to FIFA and now take their case to the final appeals process, The Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Should the ban be upheld, Chelsea will be unable to sign new players until the summer of 2020.
A huge blow for the club, who have an aging squad in need of fresh blood and new impetus, and whose main man Eden Hazard is both keen and likely to move on.
Big name, established managers are unlikely to be interested in replacing Sarri if they are unable to strengthen and freshen up in the transfer market.
So, in the circumstances, is it time for Chelsea to box clever? Is it time to lean on their excellent academy and look to their numerous young players returning from loans.
Chelsea produce consistently good youth teams and players but very few get an opportunity and end up loaned out to clubs across Europe.
But here is a chance for them, and a chance for the club to run in a more streamlined, self sustainable manner. Something which Abramovich has long hoped for.
The new stadium they were planning for has been put on the back burner and Stamford Bridge is proving problematic to expand, modernise and make more corporate friendly.
Therefore Chelsea are falling behind (certainly off the pitch) more financially self serving, affluent and marketable clubs such as Man City, Arsenal and now Tottenham.
So, with all the above aligned, maybe it’s time for Chelsea to offload some aging underperformers and give a chance to some of their much heralded youngsters.
It may be that Chelsea look to appoint internally this time. It requires someone who has extensive knowledge of the players he will have at his disposal to get the best out of them.
Gareth Southgates’England assistant Steve Holland has been earmarked also, and would fit the bill having formed part of the coaching setup at the club prior to 2017.
With Chelsea having so many players out on loan perhaps the man in charge of monitoring their progress, loan technical coach Paulo Ferreira should be brought in to assist the new man in transition.
It’s all slightly hypothetical, but Chelsea will surely have a plan in place for both the upcoming unique on pitch situation and the long term sustainability and aspirations of the club.
A lot for the club hierarchy to think about, but all things considered, there’s every chance this could be the end of the chequebook out, hire them fire them Abramovich.