A Little Bit of History…
Before 2003, football club owners needed to be wealthy. It came with the territory. Then a Russian businessman arrived in West London and changed the game forever. Suddenly, having a few pound notes in your back pocket was not enough. Forget wealthy, forget millionaire, Roman Abramovich was a billionaire, and he wasn’t playing around. With a stroke of a pen, he was the new owner of Chelsea Football Club, and the era of the mega-owner had begun. He wanted the best players on the planet, he wanted trophies, he wanted success. And the wasted no time in splashing the rubles.
Under the 18 years of Abramovich ownership, Chelsea have been an unmitigated success. They’ve been Premier League champions five times and, except for three occasions, have never finished a season outside the top four positions. They’ve also won numerous other cups, including two Champions League trophies, the most recent being in May. They’ve spent many millions signing some of the greatest players on the planet and have produced scintillating football. The owner has also overseen 14 managerial changes. So, beware – if things aren’t going well, the axe can quickly fall at Stamford Bridge.
From a great start to a blistering end, via a slightly worrying middle, the 2020/21 season was a memorable one for Chelsea. They started their campaign being managed by Frank Lampard, their legendary former player and prodigal son. In classic Chelsea fashion, he was shown the door after just 1 ½ years in charge following a string of poor results. His replacement was former PSG manager Thomas Tuchel (below), who was appointed on January 26th and quickly turned things around. They won 11 of their remaining 19 league games and, of course, ended the club season in glorious triumph by winning the Champions League for the second time on a historic night in Porto.
The Season Ahead…
Now, 2021/22 beckons and the club are set up for a great one. They are guided by a talented young manager, but one who has a wealth of trophy-winning experience in Germany and France. They have an incredible squad, one of the best in Europe
Speaking on that squad, Chelsea is overflowing with talent; Arrizabalaga, Mendy, Christensen, Jorginho, Pulisic, Werner, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech, Kante, Gilmour, James, Havertz. This is a lot of names. It’s also an embarrassment of riches. If Tuchel can continue to harness the power of these players and add to the squad, Chelsea are genuine title contenders.
The big transfer story at Stamford Bridge surrounds Romelu Lukaku, the Inter Milan striker who Tuchel has described as a “fantastic player”. Chelsea sold the Belgium international to Everton, before he moved onto Manchester United and the Inter Milan. Chelsea are apparently close to completing a $134 million deal for the Belgium striker but, at the time of writing, nothing has been confirmed. Upon news that Lukaku was the number one target, the rumours swirling around two other potential signings, the Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland, went distinctly quiet. This looks like a done deal with just the paperwork to complete.
They have been a few high profile departures from Stamford Bridge this summer. Both defender Fikayo Tomori and striker Olivier Giroud have joined AC Milan, Victor Moses has left for Spartak Moscow and goalkeeper Willy Caballero has been released. Meanwhile, highly rated youngster Billy Gilmour has joined Norwich City on loan. There is also the possibility that 23-year old striker Tammy Abraham could be on his way to AS Roma in a $47 million deal, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Location Fulham, West London
Stadium Stamford Bridge (40,834 capacity)
20/21 Final League Position 4th
Opening Game of 21/22 Season home to Crystal Palace
21/22 Predicted Final League Position 2nd
Chelsea are back to their all-powerful best, and they have one of the highest regarded managers in Europe at the helm. With a squad that makes most clubs green with envy, a top four finish is almost guaranteed. The title might be slightly at out their reach this season, but it’ll be close.