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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Todd Boehly Newcastle warning shows Chelsea pressure to meet Thomas Tuchel transfer challenge

  Chelsea supporters have probably heard and seen more of Todd Boehly in three months than they had of Roman Abramovich over the almost 2...

 

Chelsea supporters have probably heard and seen more of Todd Boehly in three months than they had of Roman Abramovich over the almost 20 years of ownership at Stamford Bridge.

Boehly has taken little time to ingratiate himself with the Chelsea community, taking photos with supporters outside the club shop, making the popular decision to remove the criticised £2 booking fee for tickets that remained for several years.

Boehly has also continued to speak about his takeover publically, reflecting on the scope of the Premier League which provides opportunity but also more competition after the Newcastle takeover in 2021.

“They don’t realise how big their opportunity is,” Boehly said at the SuperReturn International private equity conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

 “Let’s get a hold of our destiny and think about how to optimise this. The asset class is getting institutionalised. Now, we are starting to realise the power of these platforms.”

The Chelsea co-owner went on to focus on the recent investment in Newcastle from Saudi Arabia and the impact on the "top six" in the Premier League.

The big six will become the big seven with the Saudi deal for Newcastle,” Boehly said. “There is going to be an opportunity for everyone to win.”

Newcastle have already made moves to reshape a squad under Eddie Howe. Bringing in five players during the January window, most striking the £37m deal for midfielder Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon, helping to take the Magpies away from relegation danger to an uplifting 11th place finish compared to an awful start.

Newcastle are not looking to halt the spending anytime soon, already making the loan for Aston Villa left-back Matt Targett permanent and linked to a host of players across Europe. Their bright end to last season and the promise of more players signal a potential newcomer to the upper echelons of the English game.

Chelsea has been a recognised member of England's top six, competing with Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs. Those teams filled those spots in the final Premier League table for the fourth time since the 2016-17 campaign in May with West Ham and Leicester the disrupters between 2019 and 2021.

Whether Howe's improved squad will be ready to compete for European spots in 2022/23 feels like a stretch, but the chances of them getting to that place in the coming years is a real threat. And in the post- Roman Abramovich years where Chelsea are going to have to act with less haste in the transfer market, the importance of shrewd decision-making will be key to ensure that place in the top six (or seven) remains.

With reports of Boehly opening talks with Inter Milan to negotiate the return of Romelu Lukaku to Italy under 12 months after his record-breaking transfer to the Blues, Chelsea's wider transfer strategy can hopefully start to take shape, with obvious action overtaking weeks of speculation.

Chelsea have an equal challenge this summer, simultaneously aiming to close the large gap to Manchester City under Thomas Tuchel whilst also securing the spot in the Champions League places they already have as Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United all look to recruit for a better season.

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