Any talk of transfers and Chelsea feels so pointless now doesn’t it?
Well maybe for the time being. However long the “time being” lasts as Chelsea’s entire future hangs in the balance after the UK Government’s sanctions on Roman Abramovich in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This contrast was best emphasised to me on Saturday morning by looking at an exclusive from the Daily Mail. Emblazoned in bold on the back page, a headline citing a “coup” for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. A “blockbuster” deal for £100m!
These are all headlines that Chelsea fans became accustomed to reading last summer when the club was reportedly looking to sign the Norwegian.
You look down to the bottom of that same back page and Chelsea’s current reality is laid out in simple terms. “The government want Chelsea sold!”
In the whirlwind of the past 48 hours, that headline actually does not seem as depressing given the previous two days that plunged the entire 117-year existence of Chelsea into crisis. With a limited licence that prevents the club from making any income, the upcoming weeks look bleak.
The thought of a new sale sparks relief and a sense of security.
Last summer, the daily chat all circled around the need to “break the bank” for Haaland. On Friday evening Chelsea’s actual bank account was suspended by Barclays.
Any talk of Haaland has all become so irrelevant when the prospect of over 1,000 employees losing their jobs due to these sanctions hits home.
How supporters now crave a return to the simplistic chat about Declan Rice or Aurélien Tchouaméni. The hope of a fresh set of recruits this summer before Tuchel plots his path to an eventual Premier League crown.
That last paragraph feels tone-deaf based on more serious events in the world currently, but for many coming to terms with a fortnight of seismic change, it is very hard to so quickly rehabilitate minds.
That is something Tuchel has done superbly with the men’s team on the pitch, as has Emma Hayes with the women.
Even trying to assume what the starting lineup looks like next season feels foolish, let alone how a new owner would approach his first transfer window with the financial ramifications of this critical period in Chelsea’s history.
I’m thinking above my paygrade here, but would they be ultra reserved over spending anything? Would these sanctions lead to a quicker, lower-price sale so that owner would be more inclined to invest quickly to get the club back on track?
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The consistent chatter this season over player contracts – be that for Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta or Andreas Christensen, all now feel like doomed situations.
Would any of the current squad be looking at moving, even if the club is sold?
Much uncertainty and fear makes any discussion of transfer links and rumours feel pretty shallow for the time being.
When the entire existence of your club is in jeopardy, talk of £100m fees loses any weight. And how Chelsea recalibrate in that market under a new owner may do little to change that feeling.
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