The hiring of Mauricio Pochettino as Chelsea manager may end up being seen as the turning point in the post-Roman Abramovich era.
To suggest that co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali’s first year has been disappointing — and disappointing to the tune of £600 million — would be a masterful understatement.
Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea’s Champions League-winning manager, was fired by the Clearlake group on their 100th day in command, and Graham Potter’s successor’s pledges of long-term commitment and a time-honored project only lasted 31 games.
In that period, Chelsea has burned through significant transfer funds without showing any sense of a plan or structure. Purchases appear to have been made on a whim or at the first indication of competition from Premier League rivals, and the spending spree has been followed by a failure to purchase a striker who can score goals.
As a result of club legend Frank Lampard’s less-than-successful holding strategy, they lost in the Premier League and were eliminated from European participation after losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Not that Lampard should be held responsible for this. The harm had already been done. His return’s rebound had a flatline.
Additionally, goodwill has been waning. Boehly has become a target for irate supporters, and his dressing-room visit following the defeat to Brighton last month, during which he called the season “embarrassing,” was detrimental rather than beneficial and showed a lack of self-awareness.
Although Chelsea’s season has been terrible, Boehly has contributed significantly to that.
And for these reasons, Chelsea, Boehly, and his allies are extremely grateful for Pochettino’s hiring.
The rule of averages states that after making so many poor choices, they should eventually make one right choice, so let’s hope the appointment of the highly rated former Spurs manager is just that.
Boehly will be hoping for third time fortunate with Chelsea managers as there are new battles to add to the classic rivalries with Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United. Arsenal and Newcastle are now very much factors in the top end of the standings. Tottenham will also be hoping for better under their new boss despite their recent difficulties.
Chelsea, which has been vying for major honors both domestically and in Europe for so long, cannot afford to slip farther behind given the stakes after their huge outlay.
Although it has been said before, this is one choice that needs to be right.
And in Pochettino, if the appropriate circumstances are met, Boehly might just have the guy to at least give the large group of new players who have come in west London a shape.
The Argentine has a good reputation in England thanks to his work at Spurs, and he is charismatic enough to guarantee that the vast majority of Chelsea supporters will accept him despite his prior associations with their opponents.
Many Spurs supporters desired the return of their old manager to north London, but that has never been possible. Daniel Levy fired their former manager in November 2019, six months after they advanced to the Champions League final.
Pochettino will want to show that he can win trophies in England after winning the Ligue 1 championship and French Cup during his time at Paris St-Germain. He is known for his high pressing and attractive style of play.
At Spurs, this was consistently the criticism leveled at Pochettino. He was able to make them contenders, but never winners. It should be emphasised that neither Chelsea nor he will be content with it.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino rejoices after they advanced to the 2019 Champions League final.
For the first time under Pochettino, Spurs reached the Champions League final.
After a disastrous season that raised legitimate concerns about the owners’ ability and understanding of how football operates, Chelsea and Birmingham need their new manager to get to work quickly.
Pochettino seems to be the ideal fit and will profit from the fact that the bar has already been so low-balled – the customarily sky-high expectations at Chelsea reduced, at least for the time being, by their terrible decline from grace.
After taking over for Tim Sherwood in May 2014, he not only rejuvenated the Spurs team but also made players warm to him thanks to his charm and man-management abilities.
This should not be misunderstood for a lack of ruthlessness, as Chelsea’s players will discover if they fail to live up to Pochettino and his dependable assistant Jesus Perez’s expectations in both the physical and footballing realms.
Chelsea may also be confident that he won’t experience the unjust or otherwise credibility issues that surrounded Potter’s term, when the Englishman struggled to persuade supporters that, after moving from Brighton, he was the proper person to lead this dysfunctional giant of a club.
In light of the fact that the ownership’s own assumptions have been disproven by the results of their first season in charge, Boehly would do well to pay attention to Pochettino’s Premier League experiences and follow the advice of his manager.
Despite the haphazard nature of Chelsea’s signing spree, which resulted in the creation of a Frankenstein’s monster of a team, talented players have clearly arrived, such as £107 million Argentina World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez, and there are raw materials to work with.
Pochettino has shown himself to be proficient in that, so Boehly and company must now take a backseat and allow Pochettino to make the crucial decisions regarding who stays, who departs, and who arrives. He will like working with the talent he has access to at home.
The owners of Chelsea should go under the radar.
And if their choice to hire Pochettino, who was inspired and motivated by his absence, is a success, it might just aid them in accomplishing that.
The owners of Chelsea cannot afford another failure, that much is evident.