The new owners of Helsea will have to pay around £3 billion to get the keys to Stamford Bridge. And as soon as they go through the door, they will have to take out the wallet again.
It’s just to get Thomas Tuchel’s side back to where they are right now, not to mention the money needed to turn them into serious challengers for Manchester City and Liverpool.
By conservative estimates, the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen rob Tuchel of around £100million worth of talent.
He takes away two-thirds of the defense that won them the Champions League last season and shatters what has undoubtedly been the heart of Tuchel’s success.
In Rudiger’s case, Chelsea will lose one of the Premier League’s top three defenders of the past two years, alongside Virgil van Dijk and Ruben Dias.
Whether the new owners, without Roman Abramovich’s willingness to spend so freely, can replace the German defender with comparable quality is a major question – and their performance in their first transfer window could be hugely instructive as to what this new reality will be for the club. .
But even under Abramovich, this summer would have presented a tall order. The gap to Manchester City and Liverpool is still too big – and a lifeless 1-0 win over West Ham yesterday underscored the work still needed to close it.
Tuchel needs to address areas other than defense to give his team a new dimension which could see them get closer to the top two. Instead, he’s left to fill the gaps before he can even begin to add more midfield craft or a spike to an attack that lacked inspiration yesterday.
Conor Gallagher will return from his loan spell at Crystal Palace, but as impressive as he has been this season, is he changing the dial enough?
His addition to the first team has already made Chelsea think twice about a move for long-term target Declan Rice. But if they decide to make a move for the West Ham midfielder, will there be enough funds to spend over £100million after signing two centre-backs?
Meanwhile, sales will have to be made before any additions, if any, are made to the forward line, with the club almost certain to lose money on, say, Romelu Lukaku or match-winner Christian Pulisic if either goes. In Lukaku’s case, they would probably have to continue paying a significant portion of his salary just to facilitate a move.
Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner represent a greater chance of a return on their investment. So there will be an element of turmoil this summer, no matter what, but there’s no avoiding the reality of a huge initial investment in defence.
Jules Kounde remains the main target and it is certain that a deal can be agreed with Sevilla this summer after failing to land him last year.
Leicester’s Wesley Fofana has been closely watched. But the expectation within the club was that only one member of this duo would be forced to add to their existing backline, rather than needing two top replacements for Rudiger and Christensen.
Lucrative offers have been offered to both, with Rudiger rejecting the chance to become the highest-paid defender in club history at £230,000 a week.
Chelsea also believed a deal for Christensen had been agreed before Christmas, only for it to fall through – and despite being offered improved terms, the Dane is set to join Barcelona.
As a result, Tuchel yesterday got a glimpse of what his backline will look like next season without any additions.
Thiago Silva, 37, alongside Cesar Azpilicueta, who will be 33 next school year, and Trevoh Chalobah, who only made his first team debut this season. It’s hardly a defense on which a title challenge can be built.
How Chelsea got into this predicament is a question their new owners are sure to ask. standard sports understands that at least one of the three suitors to buy the club insisted that Rudiger would have been retained at all costs.
Chelsea’s new owners will immediately count the cost of some major mistakes in future planning
But how director Marina Granovskaia allowed the contracts of two of these key players to run out until their final months should lead to some uncomfortable questions. Meanwhile, Chelsea have seen Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi all out.
All three bidders want to keep Granovskaia at the helm for his market trick, but major mistakes have been made in terms of planning for the defense’s future.
Chelsea are also watching the clock tick on deals for N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, who are both out of contract at the end of next season.
In the post-Abramovich era, Chelsea will be forced to count the cost in a way they never did under the Russian. Their new owners will count the cost immediately.