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Can Pochettino be Chelsea’s redeemer?

After being confirmed as Chelsea’s new manager, can Mauricio Pochettino turns things around following a disastrous year at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino

A season to forget now comes with more concerns with their senior players opting to leave the club during the summer window with contract negotiations not going according to plan. With 600 million pounds spent in the last season, Chelsea’s new manager, Mauricio Pochettino, is set to reorganize the talent he has in store. 

While the results haven’t come the Stamford Bridge way as expected this season, the new ownership and everyone with tickets will hold off their sentiments until Pochettino gets to work and wait for the upcoming season. 

Expectations for the new Chelsea side will be plenty, far from the Europa League spots or the Champions League positions. The Champions League winners in 2019 and the Club World Cup winners in 2020 have a mountain to summit next season. 

Here’s the latest from the Chelsea camp. 

End of the road for Kante?

Recent reports suggest that the future of N’Golo Kante at Chelsea is once again uncertain. Talks surrounding the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino as manager have been drawn out, leaving Kante’s situation in a state of limbo.

There were indications that Kante was nearing an agreement to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge. Despite facing injuries in recent seasons, his significance to the club remains evident whenever he takes the field. Only a few players match his influence in important matches in the world.

However, Kante’s current contract will expire at the end of the season, and there was an expectation that this would be resolved upon Pochettino’s arrival. The manager reportedly showed keen interest in signing Kante during his time at PSG, which has fueled speculation about their close relationship.

Kante rose to the spotlight from Leicester’s Premier League-winning side and eventually went to be loved by everyone with tickets to the Bridge. While he has had a history of injuries that also forced him to withdraw from the World Cup in 2022, he will be crucial for Chelsea’s success being a seasoned campaigner, along with his experience. 

Raheem Sterling – the biggest disappointment 

Last season, Chelsea emulated what Sir Alex Ferguson did with Van Persie of Arsenal – sign their best to win the title the following season with United. He succeeded. 

Chelsea didn’t. 

Raheem Sterling’s move from Manchester City to Chelsea last summer was met with great anticipation as an experienced and impactful signing who could provide the goalscoring prowess that Chelsea lacked. Sterling had enjoyed seven highly successful seasons at City, scoring 131 goals and providing 95 assists while winning multiple Premier League titles and domestic cups.

However, since joining Chelsea, the 27-year-old has struggled to replicate his previous form. With nine goals and four assists in 37 games this season, he shares the title of Chelsea’s top scorer alongside Kai Havertz. Nevertheless, these numbers fall short of the expectations set by his reputation and past performances.

Chelsea’s over-bloated squad, with a spending spree led by Todd Boehly, has led to a lack of cohesion within the team. Many of the 16 new signings, including Sterling, have struggled to impact under different managers, such as Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter, and Frank Lampard.

While other signings like Marc Cucurella, Mykhailo Mudryk, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have faced challenges, Sterling’s disappointing performances have stood out to Emmanuel Petit. Given his previous achievements and reputation, Sterling’s struggles at Chelsea have made him the most disappointing signing for Petit.

What Chelsea expected of Raheem Sterling and what he delivered were two ends of the coin. Of course, the justification could be brought on the existing calamities, to which many of the fans with tickets would also agree. 

However, a good 2023/24 season could turn it all around. If the new signings can build team chemistry and create a plan that works throughout the season, Sterling could lead this talented bunch to take Chelsea back. 

Does Boehly owe an apology? 

William Gallas didn’t hold back in his criticism of Todd Boehly, the owner of Chelsea, stating that the American owes an apology to the fans for the “big mess” of a season. Boehly took over from Roman Abramovich last season and has spent £600 million on new players while going through four different managers.

Currently sitting in 12th place in the Premier League after finishing third under Thomas Tuchel in the previous season, Gallas believes that Boehly arrived at the club without a clear strategy. He emphasized the need for Boehly to take responsibility for the mistakes made by him and the board, just as players and managers are judged based on their performance.

The Premier League winner and French International, Gallas, stated that the owner’s performance had not met the expectations of a big club like Chelsea, and he called for Boehly to acknowledge the errors made publicly. Gallas said the lack of a clear strategy has resulted in a chaotic season, despite the significant investment in new players. He also expressed disappointment in some of the players’ quality, considering Chelsea’s status as one of the top clubs in Europe in recent years.

In Gallas’s view, the current season has been far below the level expected from Chelsea, and he believes that the owners’ lack of direction and planning has contributed to the club’s decline.

Gallas emphasized the importance of patience and understanding the culture at Chelsea. He stated that being the club owner does not grant the right to interfere in the dressing room and undermine the players and the manager. Merely investing millions of pounds in players does not give the owner the unrestricted authority to act as they pleases. 

Gallas highlighted the need for respect and a recognition of the established dynamics within the club, urging Boehly to exercise restraint and avoid disrupting the team and managerial structure.

Pochettino is already at work

Although his official term would not start until the end of the season, the new Chelsea boss has begun work behind the scenes.

According to sources, it has been reported that signing a goalkeeper is one of Mauricio Pochettino’s main priorities for the upcoming summer transfer window. This comes after a challenging season for Chelsea’s current goalkeepers, Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Mendy was a fan favourite at the Bridge, with everyone with tickets loving to see him in action. But one of Chelsea’s lows came with Mendy’s lacklustre form. 

Among the potential targets identified by the new manager are Emiliano Martinez from Aston Villa, David Raya from Brentford, and Andre Onana from Inter Milan.

In other news, a European club has initiated initial discussions with Chelsea regarding a potential deal involving Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The details of the talks and the club’s identity have yet to be disclosed.

Adama Bojang – the new wonder kid? 

Chelsea is reportedly intensifying their interest in Adama Bojang, a talented 18-year-old striker from Gambia. Bojang has had an impressive start to the Under-20 World Cup in Argentina, scoring goals and catching the attention of several clubs.

Having already been on Chelsea’s radar before the tournament, the club hopes to secure Bojang’s signing as a welcoming gift for incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino. Bojang, who plays for Steve Biko FC in Gambia, is nicknamed ‘the Gambian hurricane’ and stands at an imposing height of 6ft 3ins.

His notable performances, including four goals in the under-20 Africa Cup of Nations, have attracted interest from various clubs worldwide. Apart from Chelsea, Premier League clubs Tottenham, Brighton, Crystal Palace, and Nottingham Forest are monitoring his progress. European giants Inter Milan, Marseille, Ajax, and Sporting Lisbon are reportedly watching the young talent.

It is now a waiting game for those who got their tickets for the next season. It will come down to how Chelsea builds up in the pre-season, get their team chemistry right and their style of play. Pochettino has a mountain to climb, but if he succeeds, he will undoubtedly be remembered along with Mourinho and Tuchel at the club.

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