After the Arsenal defeat, Chelsea fans collectively lost their heads. That was their sixth defeat in a row in all competitions whilst Frank Lampard’s record since returning to Stamford Bridge has more ‘L’s' than a driving instructor.
This dismal run of form sees Chelsea seemingly destined for a bottom half finish despite spending over half a billion pounds this season on new players. It’s been a ridiculous level of expenditure for new owner Todd Boehly, yet it has blown up in his face in spectacular style. He bought the players for Thomas Tuchel to get the best out of, even reuniting him with former goal-getter Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
By September, the American was sick of Tuchel and replaced him with Graham Potter. None of these players had joined under the English boss and he also struggled to get a tune out of them, albeit he looked like prime Sir Alex Ferguson in comparison to current interim boss Frank Lampard. With the current shocking run of form, a permanent manager is top of the wishlist for Boehly and Mauricio Pochettino is the heavy favourite to take the permanent job this summer.
But what will he make of this already bloated squad? He will surely want to bring his own players in which leaves Chelsea fans free to debate which of their side should be sold this summer. Some have only been there for a short time, but in this cut-throat world, Chelsea fans have already run out of patience.
Let’s start at the back.
Most Chelsea followers have now had enough of both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy. Despite costing £94m between them, and with Mendy playing in that Champions League win, neither has fully asserted themselves as the number one pick. It’s highly improbable that any club will give Chelsea a return on their investment for Kepa, while Poch is unlikely to want to let Mendy go without at least attempting to integrate him into the team. Andre Onana has been a name floated around as a potential replacement, but feels like an unnecessary and unlikely position for Chelsea to strengthen.
Despite conceding the third fewest goals in the division, fans have serious issues with the defence. According CFCBlues.com, 74% want Kalidou Koulibaly gone, 89% want club icon Cesar Azpilicueta to depart and a small majority want Trevoh Chalobah to leave. That would leave them with Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashile and Wesley Fofana at the centre of their defence.
Chalobah will likely stay or be given a loan, but it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Chelsea do let go of Koulibaly and Azpilicueta as they look to the future. Marc Cucurella is also on the chopping block for 66% of fans, despite only joining last summer for £56m!
Social media fans tend to be more reactionary than those that go to games but still this level of turnover would be unprecedented in English football. You can’t spend half a billion then decide you don’t want half the players without even knowing who the manager is going to be.
Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher are the midfielders that Chelsea fans want rid of while N’Golo Kante deserves a new deal. Meanwhile Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling and Hakim Ziyech should be cashed in on, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will likely leave on a free. One thing is for sure, Chelsea have the assets to raise a whole heap of money this summer, should they choose to do so.
Then you have the returning loanees of Romelu Lukaku, Levi Colwill and Ian Maatsen, among others that could make an impact on the first team under Pochettino. It feels as though another big summer will be on the cards for Chelsea, but this time they have to be focused on sensible outgoings rather than incoming transfer deals.
Let Pochettino - if he is the man for the job - get his feet under the table and work out exactly what he wants at the club, and who he doesn’t. Then, work from there. A radical overhaul with another batch of new signings will only throw the squad more off-kilter, and it appears that a deal for Christopher Nkunku has already been agreed.
It’s not what Chelsea fans want to hear, but they probably don’t need anybody else barring a top class number nine. This fat and bloated squad needs trimming by a manager they are going to stick with for the long-term. A summer exodus could be as cleansing as a colonic for Chelsea Football Club.
*18+ | BeGambleAware