The curtains have officially closed on the 2021/22 on-field campaign for Chelsea Football Club following a 2-1 victory over Watford on the final day of the season. However, behind the scenes, there is a lot of work to be done on every level. First and foremost, the completion of the sale of the club before the May 31 deadline to the consortium led by Todd Boehly and Hansjorg Wyss.
Sunday’s Premier League win over the neighboring Hornets — while meaningless to many spectators — was the Blues’ final match of the Roman Abramovich era. This marks the end of a 19-year reign for the Russian in which the team won trophies galore at both the senior and junior levels of men’s and women’s football. Thus, the aim of Boehly and Co. needs to be to sustain, and indeed improve, that level of quality throughout every level of the football club. There is nothing more for Chelsea to do on the pitch at any level, but what should the club’s next move be following the conclusion of another successful campaign?
What is next for Chelsea Football Club following the end of the season?
At the boardroom level, the Blues will miss Paulo Ferreira, Tore Andre Flo and Christopher Lollichon. The trio was part of the team that looked after the players in recent years, especially in the loan army. There could be further movements from within at the loan set-up and youth levels. As far as the squad is concerned, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger will leave the club. Players such as Marcos Alonso and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta are also rumored to be moving on when the summer transfer window opens. More players could move from other areas, as well, as there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team. This does not even take into account the dozens of loan players that will be returning — only a few of whom will truly impact Thomas Tuchel’s first team side — as well.
The input of Marina Gravanskia and Petr Cech, who are both set to continue in their respective positions, will be vital for the manager and his staff. In addition to replacing the exiting players, the Blues will need to look at other potential recruits who can improve the current squad. The absence of a proper goal-scorer has remained an issue ever since Diego Costa’s departure in 2017. Will the team trust Romelu Lukaku for one more season or will it cut its losses almost immediately after a disappointing season? This is just one of the many questions facing the club’s decision-makers.
The women’s team has also lost a few of its prominent players too. Emma Hayes’ side’s depth in defense is already thin after players like Maria Thorisdottir and Hannah Blundell departed for greener pastures (as far as their individual careers go) at Manchester United last year. In the present circumstances, with the departure of Joana Andersson, it would be foolish to go into the new season with the existing defensive players and perhaps some additions.
The problem in the midfield applies, as well. Ji So-yun was one of Chelsea’s most vital players in the middle, while Drew Spence was an important squad member. Seeing as Melanie Leupolz is on maternity leave at the moment, Hayes is severely short of players who can play in the middle of the park. Fans can more than expect the women’s team to maintain a proper plan to sustain and even improve its on-field achievements as far as the current manager keeps her post.
Another principal clause in the requirements specified by the team of Abramovich was the investment in Stamford Bridge. While fans should not expect instantaneous changes on that within a year or two, plans should be set in motion. The presence of London-based property investor and developer Jonathan Goldstein in the consortium will be vital for that. For the growth of the club, a big stage is becoming necessary in today’s day and age.
Speaking of growth, the next time the Blues are on the field, fans could be seeing new shirt and sleeve sponsors after the current parties withdrew their involvement with Chelsea. Three UK and Hyundai had asked their logos be removed from the Blues’ kits due to t factors beyond the club’s control. The new owners and their contacts will ensure Chelsea is able to secure a lucrative shirt deal or two. It is a challenging — but exciting — time for the club on all fronts. If the new owners can show the same or even more commitment to on-field and off-field prospects of the club, success will continue in SW6 for years to come.
What do you think the club’s next move is following the conclusion of the campaign? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!