Sport

Don’t be too quick to judge Chelsea.

Pre-season is never the time to be trying to judge a football team. Teams have had troubled pre-seasons and gone on to achieve great success by the end of the campaign. And that is something that I think Chelsea fans need to keep in mind right now. This is a strange time for the club. The new owners are just getting their feet wet in terms of actually narrowing down the players they decide to target and moving quickly enough to get the deal done, while making sure they aren’t overpaying. And that isn’t easy to do. Transfer fees have been inflated out of proportion ever since Neymar’s move to PSG. Players that would have cost £25 million are now two to three times the price. £50 million was the transfer record for most top tier clubs until the market suddenly went bananas.

The main focus in the remaining month or so of the window has to be about achieving a good balance in the squad. Chelsea have a number of players that really need to be moved on, preferably permanently. But if a deal cannot be agreed, the club needs to starting thinking about offering a mutual termination of contracts. There are players at the club who have been contracted to the club for five years or more and have spent only a season playing for the club. If the club is unable to find a club willing to do a deal for those players, they need to give serious thought to bringing their association to an end in other ways. For those other players that may be thinking that leaving the club is in the best interests of their careers, then the club will need to think long and hard about whether they are prepared to let them leave or whether they still see them as having a role to play at the club.

There is also the fact that the club does still need to bring players in, going back to that need for balance in the squad. Because of the number of defensive players who have already left the club, reinforcement is definitely needed in that area. Kalidou Koulibaly is a wonderful signing, but he is not going to be enough on his own. Furthermore, given that both Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso have been long linked with a move to Barcelona, a player who can play at wing-back is essential. I would also suggest that another attacker is needed even if Timo Werner ends up staying at the club. Someone who will be able to complement the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount; a player who can act as competition and as a rotation option.

This is a summer of great change at Chelsea Football Club. New owners, new ideas, a new approach in the transfer market. This season is not a by for the new owners. The fans will still expect the club to compete on multiple fronts. But everyone involved in this new structure does need time to adapt. To learn the ins and outs of what for many of them is a totally new area. But once they are up to speed, we could witness something quite special at Chelsea.

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