Eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday evening, Chelsea, winner of the event in 2021, is not about to return. Eleventh in the championship, the Blues are having a season in hell and their American owner Todd Boehly is the laughingstock of English commentators for his chaotic management.
“I don’t recognize my club. It’s not the same club anymore”, lamented the former Stamford Bridge idol Didier Drogba, winner of the club’s first C1 in 2012, on Tuesday evening on TV before the 2- defeat. 0 at home against Real in the quarter-final return, after a first leg lost by the same score in Madrid.
Eliminated from all the cups, in distress in the Premier League, Chelsea is for the moment far from a possible qualification even for the Europa League Conference, the “small” European cup. The end of the season is likely to be long. Next season too.
The negative spiral began last season, when Boehly teamed up with Behdad Eghbali, co-founder of the Clearlake Capital group, to buy Chelsea after the forced departure of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, under sanctions for his closeness with Vladimir Putin.
Since then, commentators have not been kind, claiming that the misfortunes of the “Blues” are essentially the consequences of bad decisions by the new bosses.
– Tuchel ejected –
Thomas Tuchel, however winner of the 2021 Champions League, was unceremoniously ejected in September, due to differences with Boehly over transfer policy.
The German boss had apparently understood that the 625 million euros dropped to acquire new players had been badly spent. The inability to recruit a goalscorer, in particular, weighed heavily on performance. And a bloated locker room of 30 players is almost impossible for a coach to manage.
“We compare to what was done under the era of Roman Abramovich, where there were a lot of acquisitions of players, but the choices were very intelligent”, analyzed Drogba, on the set of Canal +: “It brought in players like Petr Cech, Andriy Shevchenko, Hernán Crespo, Michael Essien, Florent Malouda to win titles. They are players with some experience”.
“I think they (currently) lack charismatic leaders”, continued the former Ivorian star, “you need players who take the game on their own, their responsibilities. You need players who bring a little madness In the stadium.”
Tuesday evening, only four of the holders of the final won in 2021 were on the lawn to face Real, defending champion.
– “Harry Potter” –
Tuchel sacked, Boehly replaced him with Graham Potter, an almost unknown but sufficiently “collaborative” manager in his eyes, whom he had signed for five years … But the newcomer had difficulty imposing his philosophy to an already destabilized team. Some players, the press reports, have made fun of his modest coaching resume, calling him a puppet of Boehly and giving him nicknames like “Harry Potter” and “Hogwarts”.
Seven months after his arrival, at the beginning of April, the Englishman was fired in turn, replaced at short notice by Frank Lampard, certainly a club legend … but who made a disastrous start, with four consecutive defeats.
After a 2-1 loss at Brighton last Saturday in the league, Boehly was taken to task by furious supporters. He descended into the dressing room to lecture the players, calling their season “embarrassing”. His “motivational” speech did not cause the expected shock against Real…
It now remains to rebuild. For next season, the leaders have already made contact with two currently free coaches: Julian Nagelsmann, recently sacked by Bayern, and Luis Enrique, the former coach of Spain.