CHELSEA NEWS

Todd Boehly creates new Chelsea timeline as Graham Potter hire breaks Roman Abramovich tradition

 

Why persist with something that is not working? That is the assessment Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali and the rest of Chelsea’s new ownership made when they decided to part company with their Champions League-winning coach only seven games into the season. Criticism can be rightly directed towards a transfer strategy that leaned heavily on Thomas Tuchel’s knowledge and preference, before dispensing with him only six days after the window closed.

To some, the perception of the new American ownership barging in, showing little understanding of football and making all of their decisions based on a whim will be aided by the dismissal of Tuchel. The likes of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher will go on their viral rants, rival fans and pundits alike will churn out the line that Boehly only sacked Tuchel because “he didn’t want to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.”

The only way Chelsea’s new regime can disprove those accusations is to show their bold new appointment more trust and patience. A five-year contract worth up to a reported £60million certainly incentivises that, although Boehly was not hesitant to spend liberally over the summer. Graham Potter breaks the timeline even some Chelsea supporters assumed they were embarking on.

Although the takeover in June opened up the possibility of a change in approach to every facet of the club, the presence of an elite coach like Tuchel maintained a belief in instant results. This was one of the best in his profession, someone who has built his reputation on winning titles, something he did within four months of taking the role in 2021.

An equal praise and critique of the German was his faith in experience, signalling the here and now. One of Tuchel’s final quotes as Chelsea’s head coach reinforced that belief. “The wish is clear. I want a win and nothing else.” Chelsea at their best under Tuchel proved that, mainly in the Champions League.

Increasingly when they didn’t win, the lack of something else sapped the enjoyment of watching the team. Potter’s appointment, and lengthy contract, pose the idea of a longer-term vision. The idea of making more out of less, improving those within his squad, incrementally building with players who have yet to reach their peak, which Potter will still have in the group he picks up from Tuchel.

If Boehly follows through on this idea, he will be radically moving Chelsea into a different timeline. One that feels diametrically opposed to the one pursued by Abramovich. Although supporters vocalised their wish to see Tuchel at the helm of this approach, doing so without him will need some convincing if results are not perfect to begin with.

It will also be on the new ownership to stick to their guns if Potter’s first year is littered with a few setbacks. Losing out on Champions League qualification would have guaranteed your dismissal in the previous era, would it do the same here?

Boehly will face some tough spells with this approach, even facing scrutiny from his own fans given the Blues’ ridiculous level of success in English football. Offering consistent moments of joy whilst rivals looked on with envy. Potentially starving them of that with hopes for something sustainable down the road makes Potter an equally intriguing and daring choice.

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