Despite hundreds of millions spent on signing players coupled with some unemotional mass exodus and a new coach, it’s still the same uninspiring Chelsea.
Chelsea fans were supposed to move on from an endured 2022/23 season which saw the Blues end the season in 12th position in the Premier League, but things haven’t seemed like getting better for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, six weeks into the new campaign.
Off the pitch, particularly in the transfer market, the Blues have been busy since the start of 2023 and that explains why they are football’s biggest net-spenders so far in 2023 according to the CIES (International Centre for Sports Studies) Football Observatory.
The Blues’ current spendings on transfers this year is €575m (£499m). Following last year’s takeover by the Todd Boehly-led consortium backed by Clearlake Capital, Chelsea spent a record £323m on transfers in the January window and another £176m in the summer.
Indeed, Chelsea have, by far, spent more money than any club in world football since Todd Boehly took over, and are fast approaching the milestone of £1bn spent in a little over a year.
The Blues have even outspent the entirety of LaLiga in the time that Boehly has been owner, while they are fast approaching the Bundesliga, according to figures by Transfermarkt.
The £115m Moises Caicedo transfer, breaking the British transfer record for the second time in 2023, pushed their spending north of £900m.
That was after they signed World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez from Benfica in January for a then record fee of £106.8m.
The arrival of Romeo Lavia from Southampton last month, in a deal worth £58m, meant that the club had forked out just over £950m under their new ownership.
If money can indeed buy success in football, they should be as high as their spendings.
It is even more ironic that their wild big-money signings are yet to deliver. The biggest disappointment, though, is undoubtedly £88.5m man Mykhailo Mudryk, who Arsenal fans are now thankful didn’t end up at the Emirates Stadium.
As a result, it is not surprising to see them among the worst teams in 2023 with 25 points from 28 matches. They also have just one win in the Premier League this season, which came off new boys Luton Town, while another test awaits them against Aston Villa on Sunday (today).
Initially, it was fascinating to see just how far new manager Mauricio Pochettino could take the new-look Chelsea, but their teeming fans have been quick to lower their expectations few games into the season.
“Coming from 12th last season, and the way we have started this season, it means we first have to displace teams in 11th, 10th and upwards before we can think of getting back into the top-four,” a Chelsea fan, Nichola Anifowose, told PUNCH Sports Extra.
Until it is clear what they are capable of, trophies are not even a consideration for them.
Music producer, ID Cabassa, also lamented the situation.
“Whatever it is that is causing this needs to be looked into… With all the flair and possessions, yet we lose matches.”
Having spent much money already, Pochettino and Chelsea are still reportedly in search of players to fill certain positions.
Regardless of the the fierce competition and the ground Chelsea have to make up, some of them are hopeful things will turn around soon with the calibre of players they have.
“You cannot win if you do not build. Our job is to provide the team with stability (during) ups and downs, to behave in the same way. It is a process that needs time, but in football you can’t ask for time. We know we need to deliver now. My message to everyone here is, ‘we are at Chelsea and we need to win today, not tomorrow,’” the coach said before the start of the season.
Former Super Eagles captain and ex-Chelsea midfielder, Mikel Obi, who was back at the Stamford Bridge recently for a novelty game, also backed the Blues to bounce back.
“They will be fine. I think the club is obviously going through a massive transition, so we need to give them time. A lot of good and fantastic young players, we need to give them time to make sure they get the time to work and gel together as a team. Once we are able to do that, I think we would be back unbeaten again,” Mikel said.
“I have said it before and I’m going to say it again, Nicolas Jackson would come good for Chelsea. He is ending this season with nothing less than 20 goals,” one of their fans, Jerry wrote on X.
Before Pochettino, there have been three managers since Thomas Tuchel, who began the reign of Boehly.
However, one name Chelsea fans don’t like to remember among the trio is Graham Potter. After him was Bruno Saltor and Frank Lampard on interim basis — all of them without any idea of salvaging the Blues precarious situation.
Whatever happened to Tuchel and Potter could also happen to Pochettino. It’s still hard to tell how much of backing he has, but he must make a statement with their home game against Aston Villa today and follow it up with more positive results.
“…Chelsea I’m begging you, please don’t ruin my weekend,” a Blues fan, Janty, wrote on X ahead of the game.