Chelsea made just three significant signings in the summer transfer window and could pay the price for their lack of business.
After missing out on a place in the top four, Antonio Conte’s future at Chelsea was plunged into doubt. Despite delivering an FA Cup trophy, the Italian’s position at the club become untenable after falling out with Roman Abramovich. A lengthy contract dispute gave new boss Maurizio Sarri little time to operate in the transfer market.
Chelsea’s only big-money deal of the window was to sign Napoli midfielder – Jorginho. The Italian was a key player under Sarri last season as Napoli finished second behind Juventus in the Serie A. The midfielder was expected to sign for Manchester City before Sarri’s arrival at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea steal a march on their rivals. Following a dreadful debut season, Tiemoue Bakayoko is set to join AC Milan, according to reports, and Jorginho will add some much-needed solidity to the Blues midfield alongside N’Golo Kante. The Italian is joined at the club by Mateo Kovacic who joined from Real Madrid on loan as part of the deal that saw Thibaut Courtois move to the Bernabeu.
The departure of Courtois will no doubt hurt Sarri’s plans for the season. His replacement, Kepa Arrizabalaga, has immense pressure on his young shoulders after completing a world-record £71m move to the Premier League. The Spaniard has the potential to be a great goalkeeper, but teething problems are to be expected. He has huge boots to fill, and the weight of expectation could prove too much for him.
The Blues are also in danger of losing their star players with no time to replace them. With the window not closing until the end of August for European sides, Chelsea fans should be worried. Eden Hazard has been linked with Real Madrid to replace Cristiano Ronaldo while Kante still attracts interest from Paris St Germain. Sarri simply cannot afford to let them leave or will face a real struggle to challenge for the title.
The 59-year-old hasn’t had long to implement his style of play to transition Chelsea from Conte’s three at the back to a 4-3-3 formation favoured by the ex-Napoli boss. Unfortunately, Chelsea managers in the past haven’t been given much time to get things right, and Sarri could be another casualty of Abramovich’s managerial axe if things don’t improve quickly.
Chelsea fans, how would you rate your summer transfer window out of 10?