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Chelsea and the cost of their chaotic success

Chelsea is one of the most successful club but has their tactics of changing managers affecting their gameplay in the long run?

Sourav Ghosh
Last updated: 05.04.2019
Chelsea after winning the trophy

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There’s just something about Chelsea that paints them as a rather peculiar club. They have their own ways of finding success and similar ways to boot out the rummage. However, the interesting thing to look at is that no other club can emulate their structure. Chelsea is far too used to this plan they have built ever since their takeover by the Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich in 2003.

Chelsea is one of the most unstable clubs you’ll come across in terms of managers. They have had 11 different managers (not counting double stints and caretakers) in the last 16 years! While normally this isn’t exactly a functional way to run a football club, Chelsea has made it work in a rather spectacular way. They are the most successful English club since 2003 with a whopping 15 major trophies to their name. The closest team is Manchester United with 13 major honors in the same period. Chelsea was the last English club to lift the Champions League back in 2012. However, there is always bound to be a side effect to this hire and fire approach and over the years, this effect that was dwarfed by the success, has finally caught up with them and their current manager Maurizio Sarri has looked clueless at times this season.

One look at Chelsea’s squad and you will find that they have a collection of players bought by 4 managers ranging from Di Matteo (Hazard), Mourinho (Pedro), Conte (Kante) and Sarri (Kepa). This means Sarri isn’t exactly operating with his own team. These set of players have played under different managers, different tactics and different approaches to games. Every time a new manager has come in, they brought in their own style and the players had to adapt.


While there exist some problems with most coaches, Chelsea has a rather huge internal problem and that’s the resignation of technical director Michael Emenalo in 2017. This left a huge void that was filled by the appointment of Marina Granovskaia. She is known to be a close associate of Roman Abramovich and she has a lot of power and sways at her disposal in terms of transfers and player dealings.

Since then, Chelsea’s transfer policies have gone a little haywire. In the summer of 2017, Chelsea splurged a lot and recouped most of it through sales and loans but the fact that the two most expensive signings, Morata and Bakayoko, aren’t even at the club right now, isn’t exactly a good thing. Purchases of Zappacosta and Emerson make no sense when new long term contracts were awarded to Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta. They have spent on players which are yet to repay the trust. The problem has been the communication between the hierarchy and the manager before buying a player.

Case in point being Pulisic’s purchase from Dortmund. When asked about it by the BBC, Sarri said that he had no idea of Pulisic’s signing, only that he was asked for an opinion on the player a month ago. So, signing a player without the manager knowing about it doesn’t exactly show the communication between the manager and board. The problem will arise if Sarri fails to see out his first year at the helm. The new manager will have a player (Pulisic) who may not fit into his plans.

All this is born out of the Blues short term fixes to any problem they have faced. They have kept firing managers, buying players they don’t need, selling potential superstars and loaning out players by the bucket. This is a vicious cycle Chelsea are caught in. They need to look at the functioning of Manchester City and Liverpool. Under the right management and backing, these two are involved in one of the most heated title races ever seen. Michael Edwards (LIV), Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano (MCI) have resorted to a long term plan that is well on its way to pay dividends.

Chelsea is in a problematic scenario. Results aren’t exactly favoring Sarri and he might be booted out if things don’t improve. A transfer ban has been placed and is most likely to stand, thereby ruling any new signings and discouraging any new manager from coming in. Their talisman, Eden Hazard, has been flirting with a move to Real Madrid. Also, they look as if they are likely to miss out on the top 4 and another year in the Europa League might await.

The club is in a mess of their own doing and all this while, trophies were sugar coating the problems underneath. Yes, it is good to win trophies but the situation now points towards a barren season. Remember, Antonio Conte was fired despite having a much more successful season last year. There is little hope for Sarri but it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have the requisite tools needed to carve out an escape for himself and the club. After all, there is always a cost for this kind of success and apparently, Chelsea has run out of ways to pay for this chaotic success.

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