On Tuesday evening, after Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat in the Champions League opener against Dinamo Zagreb, Thomas Tuchel faced the cameras as Dennis Hopper’s character in “True Romance” after getting the kiss of death from Christopher Walken and taking the lead. his cigarette. He knows what’s to come, and he knows it’s not good.
At least that’s what it looks like in hindsight, and it’s always 20/20. When asked if he was worried about Chelsea’s start to the season – three defeats in seven games in all competitions – he said: “No need to worry. It’s about reality.”
Chelsea sacked Tuchel after poor start to the season
In these situations, clubs are always keen to publish their version of events, so it was no coincidence that they were reported to have had concerns for some time and that this was not an “uninterrupted” reaction to the defeat. Tuesday night.
I’m not sure how well this interpretation passes the smell test.
Not because they had no cause for concern. Aside from the home game against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea have not played well all season. But if you’re so concerned that you’re thinking about sacking your manager, you usually don’t make a huge spending opportunity during the summer, when Chelsea were the biggest spenders in Europe, both in terms of total (more than a quarter of a billion pounds, nearly $300 million). and net terms (£200 million or $230 million). This is especially the case when you get players and sign contracts essentially without a front desk, since the previous regime of managing director Marina Granovskaya, sporting director Petr Cech and E&E mentor Scott McLachlan have either left or been leaving.
The joke was that Todd Boyle, who leads the property group, was de facto The club’s “interim sporting director,” however, was no joke. He was truly the guy who would fly all over Europe, talking to agents and brokers and negotiating contracts with input from Tuchel.
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Boehly, who wrestled in college and still has that plump, amateurish look, is without a doubt a very smart guy with a lot of experience owning a sports team. (He’s one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers for Major Baseball.) But that’s a different sport, a different role, and it wasn’t even on my radar until just over six months ago when Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine, setting off the chain of events that led to Roman Abramovich’s departure.
And so Chelsea last summer operated the way most English clubs did two decades ago: the manager decided which players he wanted to sign and which players he wanted to let go while the club, in the form of Boehly, performed. Wishes.
There’s a reason no one has worked this way since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson: It doesn’t work at the highest level. Scouting and recruiting are specialized fields that require a lot of attention and experience. As well as negotiating and figuring out how players are priced. Each of these is a hard enough business on its own; It becomes more difficult when one of the players who does this has a day job (you know, already coaching the team) and the other has no experience in the field.
Now, you might argue that Chelsea had few options. It wasn’t my ego, I was told, that turned Buhle into a wheel dealer this summer; It was a necessity. They could not hold on to Granovskaya, Cheek, and MacLachlan, and wanted to bring in the right experts to replace them. (They were linked all summer to a former Liverpool CEO Michael Edwardsbut to no avail.) So instead of rushing to the wrong date, they asked Tuchel to do double duty, with Buhli’s help.
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I get the logic, although it’s far from a good idea. Not only in terms of overpaying players, but also in terms of Tuchel’s losses. You don’t need to be a body language expert to notice how his lean, mantis-like frame has looked a lot more tense over the past few weeks. But where a bad idea turns into a really bad one is when you spend more than any other club in Europe on Tuchel’s request and get rid of it in the first week of September.
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why? Because you just invested £253m in players that Tuchel wanted – and whom they love in some cases Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, wanted Tuchel – and you have no idea if his successor on the bench (and/or whoever you eventually hire as your long-term director of football) would like it either. Because, contrary to popular belief, there is no infinite money supply; Whoever comes up will work with more limited resources than they would otherwise, which will make rebuilding more difficult.
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It’s hard to fathom why Tuchel didn’t commit and assess the situation in mid-November, when the six-week rest period known as the Qatar 2022 World Cup rolls around. For all its spoiled displays, Chelsea are sixth in the table after six of 38 games, three behind Points only for fourth place. And in the Champions League, however poor the performance in Zagreb, they were not eliminated from the qualifying race with five out of six matches remaining.
Of the seven signings in the summer, three (Aubameyang, Denise Zakaria And the Carne Chokwimica) Did not play a minute. Wesley Fofana Play one game. You obviously thought Tuchel would work when you signed on to her. How did you change your mind so quickly?
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So far, Chelsea has to quickly reload. Whoever takes charge will have to work with Tuchel’s diverse crew assembled at great cost, with no chance of a side revamp until January. They will have to work with what he has to make it better and with almost no time on the training ground to do the work. That’s because the compact winter World Cup calendar means that other than a 12-day break later this month (when most of Chelsea’s players, the internationals, are away anyway), the team will play literally every weekend and midweek.
Unless there’s something we don’t know – say, something happened in the 14 hours or so between Tuchel standing in front of the cameras in Zagreb and Chelsea’s statement on Wednesday morning – which best explains this decision, it sounds just as Chelsea claim it’s not. A hasty, ill-considered and capricious decision. And the kind that can come back to haunt you.