Contribution Piece via @CapnAmpadu
Heads up: This is only my view and my opinions.
For starters, after we won the Champions League in 2012, Roman has seemed like a more and more distant figure, and he just doesn’t have the ambition that he did before that. At the moment he can’t get into the country for more than six months at a time and when he is here, he isn’t allowed to work.
For me, the logical next step is to sell up to someone more ambitious or to actually start taking more of an active hand.
The next thing is a lack of football-minds in the board. The Chelsea board is filled with businessman. It’s great to have them on the board as we are arguably the best financially run club in the world, but we need to have a mix of businessman, and people who handle the football parts of things, and we don’t have that at the moment.
A lack of a Director of Football has also been bothering me for a while. There is absolutely no one to bridge the gap between the manager and the board. No one to lay down a long-term plan for the club. In other words, the club doesn’t seem to have any plans at all and that needs to change.
A lot of people are complaining about mentality issues and player performances, and rightly so. Majority of our players are not good enough/don’t suit the manager’s style of play, and this is a consequence of years of bad recruitment, different philosophies and a lack of a long-term plan.
I’m going to compare us a bit with the two best teams in England at the moment, Manchester City and Liverpool.
If we start with City, they have a very ambitious owner who would do everything to win, which he proved by bringing in the best manager in the world, Pep Guardiola and backing him.
They also have a DoF who has a great relationship with the manager and knows what it takes at this level. People like to say that Pep Guardiola’s success is down to buying a super-star team, but has he really? The only ready-made superstar he bought was Riyad Mahrez, and he isn’t even that big. He bought younger and hungrier players. Ederson, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Zinchenko, Sané, Jesus, Bernardo Silva. All players with a point to prove, but why is it smarter to buy younger and talented players instead of big stars?
There is a variety of reasons for that. They are easier to mould, they are hungrier for success and it’s easier to build a TEAM out of it, which is the actual point of football that seems to be have been forgotten by many. Pep bought smart and he now has a team for the next decade with a strong backbone.
Liverpool are much of the same. Ambitious owners and board, a manager that was trusted in the market who also put more focus on building a TEAM instead of signing superstars. Players like Mané, Salah, Firmino and even van Dijk were considered above average players by most but were trusted by Klopp. and are now some of the best players in the world, and an ideal fit for the Liverpool team. Having a long-term plan is key.
So my solution for Chelsea is to try to emulate these things from Manchester City and Liverpool. I believe Sarri can make it work as I think the football he plays is the way forward.
However, we have an advantage that they didn’t. Our academy. We have a lot of players out on loan from our academy that we should look to integrate into the first-team squad. It’s come to the point where I believe it’s necessary to blow everything up and start rebuilding with a younger squad. It would be stupid of us to not include some of them, to some capacity. Players like Kurt Zouma, Reece James, Jay Dasilva, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham deserve their shot in the first-team if this project was to happen.
By blowing everything up I mean that we should get rid of all the deadwood players, all the older players with a limited future and replace them with younger players.
We need a DoF to lay down a long-term plan. It could be something as easy as:
-Never signing any players over the age of 25 (unless there is a good reason to make an exception).
-Sticking with Sarri’s philosophy, and if it doesn’t work out with him, hire someone with a similar style, like Erik ten Hag.
That way we will avoid players just coming here to collect a salary, like a certain player we have now, and when a new manager comes in, all our players will be a somewhat fit for his philosophy.
To finish off, I’m getting a lot of hate for wanting some of our youth to come into the first-team squad so I just want to explain my reasons for that:
Mentality. Majority of these players have been at the club from a very young age and absolutely love the club. They would give their all to play for us, and that fire will never go away.
If we want to have a backbone in the squad similar to that we had 10-15 years ago we need to integrate these players into our squad. These players are also some of the most talented young players in the world and already have a great connection with each other.
I get that people don’t think they are as sexy as the likes of Coutinho, Icardi, Varane etc but it’s not always about buying world-class players. The most successful manager in the modern era, Sir Alex Ferguson, NEVER bought a ready made world-class player. The second a player started feeling bigger than the team, they were let go. Ronaldo, van Nistelrooy etc. The TEAM comes first.
So in conclusion:
-Hire a DoF
-Roman needs to fix up
-Give Sarri time
-Trust the youth
-Build a TEAM