The recent turmoil of Chelsea FC has been well documented, from losing 6-0 to Manchester City, to Kepa Arrizabalaga refusing substitution in the league cup final, yesterday’s dismal 1-1 home draw to Wolves, and to top it all off the scandal of Chelsea signing under-age players and resultant two-year transfer ban. One cannot help but question whether this is the end of Chelsea’s reign as a premier league giant?
Picture this: at the end of the 2018/19 season, Maurizio Sarri departs Chelsea after a ‘coup d’etat’ led by Kepa Arrizabalaga. As the preverbal Chelsea ship sinks further, Eden Hazard departs to join Real Madrid for a cut-price, due to the Belgian entering the final year of his contract.
These two possibilities are becoming almost inevitable, with the risk of Chelsea also losing Pedro, Willian and David Luiz as they also enter the last years of their contracts, and youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi reportedly requesting a transfer. This could leave Chelsea without a manager, their star man and the nucleus of its first team squad.
The might of Manchester City and Liverpool will undoubtedly bolster their squads ahead of the new premier league season, whilst Chelsea will be left to rely on their youth talent to make up their new first team.
Having said this, many Chelsea fans have been waiting for years to see the ever successful Chelsea youth academy get a chance at first-team football. Players like Callum Hudson-Odoi may finally be given the chance that they deserve. Furthermore, the vast number of Chelsea’s loaned out players may be their saving grace in such tumultuous times.
Furthermore, there is a possibility that Chelsea will be able to appeal FIFA’s two-window transfer ban. Barcelona were able to delay their two-window ban, giving them one window to go on a spending spree to last for the next two windows. Similarly, Real Madrid were able to reduce their ban to just one transfer window. So, there is a chance that the severity of Chelsea’s situation may not be as bad as it would seem, however, Chelsea have already had an appeal to freeze the ban turned down.
It’s no secret that ‘Sarri ball’ has not been the answer to Chelsea’s title ambitions, and the failure to win the league cup final means that the success of Chelsea’s season rests on winning the Europa League and a top four finish. If champions league football is not achieved, this will have been a dismal campaign for Maurizio Sarri.
However, Chelsea’s problems go far deeper throughout the club. The management who allowed the signing of under-age players is inexcusable and the attitude of players (see Kepa Arrizalaga and the demise of Chelsea’s last two managers) at the club highlights everything wrong with the modern game. Is there anything Chelsea can do to save this crisis, whilst remaining a top performing football club? It seems unlikely, at least in the short-run.