Time for Chelsea to get with the program

This is a post where I wish to mainly swerve away from the very heavy social media campaigns of Sarri out, or Sarri in. I agree with aspects of both parts of the arguments, but I’m not here to push agendas, unlike some of them.

Sarri, as I’ve said, I feel is the right man, but at the wrong time. I see many of his most keen supporters claim that it’s not working yet because he doesn’t have the right players. I agree. But for that to happen, we need at least 5/6 new signings this summer, and that’s what this article is about.

But without even taking into account the transfer ban that may or may not be in place this summer, Sarri himself has said on many occasions that he doesn’t need new signings, and that he believes he can work with what he has. That, I disagree with entirely, and kind of contradicts what his hardcore supporters claim, no?

But like I said, I’m not here to push agendas and this isn’t about Sarri.

It’s time we address the bigger issue here, the fact the club needs to crawl out of the stone ages, and into the new era.

Football today, is all about playing fast, furious, one touch, and attacking football. That’s if you want to compete with the best anyway, rather than just exist.

Chelsea go on with persisting with players such as Marcos Alonso and Willian, and sign mediocrity such as Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley. The latter is a decent player, but isn’t the right direction we should be moving in and is a squad player at best.

You might say that it isn’t entirely a club thing here. But they are the ones who are getting these players to sign new deals, and allowing Gonzalo Higuain to be signed, when we should have invested in a top class young striker to spearhead the attack for years, after the disaster of Alvaro Morata. But they backed the manager, which is understandable.

Alonso has just signed a new deal, the club want David Luiz and Willian to also sign new deals. Pedro is ageing, but is likely to be kept if there is a transfer ban.

The direction we need to take is bringing in young and quick players, with top mentalities. We have to thin out our ‘experienced’ players and trust others with game time.

I’m not going to debate whether Sarri is the right man to do this, because right now, he probably isn’t. After all, he bought in Higuain and Kovacic, who has also failed to really impress.

I’m not saying fill our starting eleven with 18-year olds, far from it. I’m saying, instead of signing 31-year old strikers, and giving poor 28-year old full backs new long terms deals. We should instead be looking to sign younger players no older than 25/26 – to build a future.

You may feel that leaves us without leaders. But can you honestly say that we have any true leaders now? We don’t.

Some of the biggest leaders on that pitch won’t necessarily be an older head. They could be an Ethan Ampadu, or a Reece James for example, who are two of the best leaders I’ve seen associated with Chelsea in the last couple of years.

We should be looking to bring one or two of these guys into the first team squad. Not all of them, just the handful that I believe would be good enough to at least bulk out the squad such as James, Ampadu, Abraham, and Mount. The latter may need another loan.

Then what we do is sign a handful of proven quality players in the positions we need, essentially full backs and striker.

We’ve spent years relying so heavily on Eden Hazard, who has saved us and single handily won games more times than I can remember. With him leaving, now is the chance to replace him with a number of top talents, rather than always rely on one. The burden needs to be shared. The creativity needs to come from a number of areas, not just the left wing.

I’m talking about your Luka Jovic’s, Ben Chilwell’s and Nicolas Pépé’s (22, 21, and 23).

These guys have proven talent, but are still very young, fresh, and full of pace and energy. They’re also full of hunger, with strong mentalities to succeed. These are just a few hypothetical examples, there are other realistic options also.

We need to rebuild. If this summer is our last window to sign players for two windows, then it’s essential that we get it right.

Is Roman Abramovich still interested? Who really knows. But this summer we might see if he is. He needs to start by recruiting a Director of Football to oversee transfers, and make the right decisions on outing the deadwood, and bringing in the new guard that’s a mix of academy talent, and top class young outsiders.

Simon Phillips

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