Chelsea won the premier league with two matches left last season, losing only five matches. They added the second-highest points tally in Premier League history with 93 points. In doing so, they broke the record for the number of wins in a season with 30 and equalized the record for consecutive wins in a season (13.). At the end of the season, they were seen as heavy favorites to repeat with the potential of ending the year with a domestic double. Then the FA Cup Final happened, Victor Moses gets sent off and Arsenal controls the rest of the match to win the title, ending the great season Chelsea with a sour taste.
Transfer moves have actually hurt the Blues chances
Ever since Victor Moses was sent off the team in that final, Chelsea has been trending downwards. Diego Costa was told he wasn’t needed a couple of weeks later with the goal in mind that Romelu Lukaku would be brought in as a replacement. Then fast forward a couple of weeks and their main rival Manchester United came in and swooped up the Belgium striker leaving Chelsea forced to buy their second option in Alvaro Morata. In essence, Chelsea created a problem they didn’t have to face by just telling Diego Costa nothing and selling him when the replacement was in the club. Now you still haven’t found a good replacement and the league starts this upcoming weekend.
Is Bakayoko enough?
That is just the main example of how the Blues have been fumbling this transfer window. Their second big money signing was Tiémoué Bakayoko which cost the Blues £40 million. The young Frenchman was brought in to make more competition in the middle of the field. He is an elite ball winner coming from the French champs Monaco and is just 22 years old. Yet Chelsea didn’t mess up in signing him, they did in responding to his arrival by selling Nemanja Matic, one of the corner stones of the latest two championships Chelsea has won, and Nathaniel Chabolah.
Selling players to the competition will hurt Chelsea
Selling Matic to Manchester United has given one of Chelsea’s biggest rivals a great player that fills one of their biggest holes for the same money as Bakayoko. So while you feel the squad has marginally improved United has improved far more. So ultimately the transfer move has in a way benefited your rival more than the team, which is something you never want. Both the selling Matic and denouncing Diego Costa are self-inflicted problems that have really hurt their chances of repeating.
The third thing that has made them worse is losing many of the young talents that would have helped the squad dealing with the rise of fixtures this season when the team is in the Champions League. Chelsea is known in recent years for having one of the best academies in the world but none of the players seem to be making the jump into the first team. The example this year can be seen with Dominic Solanke who was sold for basically nothing to Liverpool and Nathaniel Chabolah who was captain of the England youth setup and was sold for only £5 million.
Is Chelsea a selling club?
The biggest problem with Chelsea’s transfer window is they haven’t really spent, which is troublesome in a summer where all your biggest rivals are spending over £200 million. As of today, Chelsea has spent £127,500,000 while earning £105,300,000 from offloading players. This means they have just spent £22,200,000 and that is without the sale of Diego Costa. So once that deal is finally done it would mean Chelsea would be a selling club while the rest of its competitors are spending an insane amount of money.
So while Chelsea making money in the summer is not a bad thing, it is if you are trying to compete in all the competition at the same time. What defending champion has decided to not spend in the transfer market? Even two times European champion Real Madrid is making moves. Big clubs always try to improve the squad in summer but the Blues look more focused on doing good business than actually improving a squad that needs work.
What the community shield showed us
In a matter of months, Chelsea has gone from the heavy favorite to a club that must spend to keep up with the rest. The example of the level dropping was seen in the Community Shield Sunday where the display against an Arsenal team that was missing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil was pretty poor. Both Batshuayi and Morata struggled to keep the ball up front and hold possession which led to many long balls from the wings to just fly over. This shows that a proper replacement for Diego Costa has yet to be found or that both strikers need to improve for the team to find success.
The second big hole was seen when Fabregas got tired. When the Spaniard got tired in the second half Arsenal was able to find spaces a keep possession in big spells. Fabregas is no longer the player that can play box to box for a full 90 minutes and there was no Matic to come in and help. Bakayoko will help but he is young and unproven and time will be needed for him to incorporate himself well with the squad.
Chelsea was the talk of English football last season but in a matter of a couple months, they are no longer favorites. This leaves many fans lost with what the plan actually is, Chelsea will have to make moves to try to improve the squad in the coming weeks before the season starts if the Blues really want to repeat as champions and have a good showing in the champions league. The summer has been bad for Chelsea but there is still time to bring in a couple of players that turn everything around.