CHELSEA fans must be wondering if things can really get any worse at Stamford Bridge.
From last season’s 12th place finish to becoming a soft touch at home, the Blues are plodding towards another dreadful season.
GettyMauricio Pochettino’s side are in the bottom half of the Premier League[/caption]
AlamyThe Blues lost 4-2 to Wolves at Stamford Bridge last time out[/caption]
Boss Mauricio Pochettino has appeared an increasingly-beleaguered figure on the touchline of late.
If Blues fans really think that things can’t any worse, however, they may be in for a rude surprise.
Here, SunSport explores the myriad of issues surrounding the two-time European champions
It would be harsh in the extreme to blame Pochettino entirely for Chelsea’s issues, given the mess that he inherited.
But the 51-year-old can’t escape all blame.
Amid a remarkable backlog of injuries, he has failed to bring the best out of the Blues’ new-look squad.
Asked over the weekend about his side’s lack of improvement, the under-fire boss bristled.
“Last season, I wasn’t here,” he pointed out.
“It’s 15 or 16 players that are different from last season. How can you compare?
“At the moment, we need to put it all in context. We need to put it all together — to build a team, it’s not a magic touch.”
If anyone at Chelsea thought that Pochettino might just have the magic touch… his side has dispelled that theory on the pitch and now he has off it.
According to The Athletic, some of his players have shown frustration with the “basic” coaching being offered – with some of the big-money signings missing the “structure” provided by their previous bosses.
His substitutions have also prompted frustration from fans, with Chelsea having struggled to turn the tide when things have gone against them this term.
POOR SQUAD BUILDING
If Pochettino deserves a portion of blame, so do his under-performing players.
His squad features many youngsters, with owners Clearlake Capital having spent much of their staggering £1bn transfer outlay on inexperienced starlets.
Certain members of Pochettino’s squad have been described as “high on entitlement, low on hunger” – a lethal mix when trying to steer a ship around.
Amid a crisis, players with the requisite desire to get back on track might be expected to put further work in, to go the extra mile in the pursuit of improvements.
But it’s claimed that most players rarely stay behind for extra work after training, seemingly trying to get away from Cobham as soon as possible.
It’s also reported by the Mail that some players struggle to take “critical feedback” onboard… and it’s difficult to envisage the sort of reaction they are expecting given their performances this season.
Since the Clearlake era began, many long-term contracts have been handed out, with some players having even penned eight-year deals upon joining.
It’s claimed that a number of these splashy buys feel disappointed with the realities of the club compared to what they were pitched; already regretting committing themselves for so long.
A hallmark of last season was the sight of Todd Boehly in the crowd.
The American would flash a toothy grin at fans sat near his plush box, clapping and waving as he eagerly awaited kick-off.
Boehly was a regular at the Bridge, having been acting sporting director following the departure of Marina Granovskaia.
After taking a step back, the 50-year-old has seldom appeared at games this season, his disposition a far gloomier one even on the odd occasion he has.
Co-owner Behdad Eghbali is an influential figure, having worked closely with Boehly since the duo bought the club.
It’s been alleged in some quarters that Eghbali and Boehly are not as close as they previously were – although Chelsea have strongly denied these claims.
Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart work as co-sporting directors and have both overseen the last two transfer windows.
Given their difficulties with performances on the pitch and FFP off it, they could be facing a difficult summer.
AlamyTodd Boehly was an optimistic figure in his early days at Chelsea[/caption]
ReutersBoehly’s appearances at Stamford Bridge have become gloomier… and rarer[/caption]
Chelsea could be under pressure to sell players before June 30 in order to comply with Premier League Profitability and Sustainability Rules.
Clubs have leeway to make “allowable losses” of £105m across three seasons.
The Blues would receive £140m in Premier League prize money should they finish in their current 11th position, while they will miss out on European revenue.
Their annual wage bill is calculated to be around £350m, while they are set to earn around £17m less in TV money than they had hoped.
Pochettino will be eager to salvage his first season in charge in the coming weeks, starting with victory in this month’s Carabao Cup final.
Winning his first trophy in English football could plunge his side into further financial woes, however.
Carabao Cup glory would see Chelsea qualify for the Europa Conference League… which would require the Blues to comply with Uefa’s financial rules – which are stricter than those of the Premier League.
Uefa rules do not allow clubs to spend more than 80 per cent of their revenues on wages and transfers.
With Chelsea’s income likely to fall to around £450m, this would give them £360m to play with… leaving just £10m beyond their current £350m wage bill.
GettyBehdad Eghbali and Todd Boehly have found things difficult since buying Chelsea[/caption]
Thiago Silva’s wife Belle raised eyebrows with her tweet appearing to take aim at Pochettino over the weekend.
Following the defeat to Wolves, she wrote on social media: “It’s time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late.”
Belle has so far refused to delete the post, much to the apparent frustration of some club insiders.
Astrid is also claimed to have frustrated figures within Stamford Bridge.
The OnlyFans star has been spotted taking pictures with the likes of Cole Palmer and Moises Caicedo this season.
She has now claimed that there may be no more pictures with players “for a while” – alleging club chiefs to have held a meeting about her.
Instagram @bellesilvaThiago Silva’s wife Belle has been outspoken about her husband’s team[/caption]
Credit: Instagram @wettastridAstrid Wett has spoken out on Chelsea’s dire situation[/caption]
While the former will never be returning, the latter just might.
It would be the second time that the Portuguese has replaced Poch, with the first occasion at Spurs having had disastrous consequences.
While SunSport understands that Pochettino’s job is safe for now, a potential Mourinho return may appease fans in the short-term.
But “Special One” or not, Chelsea’s troubles are not going away any time soon.