Chelsea travel to Manchester United facing a potential crisis this summer, but they should use the visit to Old Trafford as a warning.
Thomas Tuchel’s men face great uncertainty over the next couple of months. It is not yet clear which of the billionaire consortia trying to buy them will be given the nod. Nor is it clear what the ambitions are of the winning bidder.
Do they want to revel in soft power and fund them as generously as Roman Abramovich for most of his time in London, or do they want to gut it and run it on fumes as the Glazer families have?
Premier League
All change at Chelsea as Boehly takes control of transfers - The Warm-Up
23/06/2022 AT 06:46
While the Floridians have rarely come to survey the damage they have done to United, they occasionally turn up to cup finals.

Tuchel relishing Premier League game against Man Utd and former mentor Rangnick

Those opportunities have dropped off over the last decade. Since Alex Ferguson departed they have been able to take in the FA Cup and League Cup, two barely domestically significant trinkets, and two Europa League finals.
While Jose Mourinho delivered in the former, the failure in the latter under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought a dramatic contrast.
The Portuguese was a manager in decline but he kept the club progressing until they gave him a sarcastically dreadful transfer window of Diogo Dalot, Fred and Lee Grant.
When Solskjaer reached the same cup final, it was obvious that he had neither the squad nor the talent to bring enduring success to the club, and yet they persisted with him. Ed Woodward, of course, still gave Solskjaer a collection of players he had no interest in as a reward and gave him the old Simpsons message: ‘I don’t remember saying good luck.’
Ferguson’s retirement exposed a lot of the setup at the club. He held the ageing and experienced squad together with his own magical self-belief and man-management, and then gave it to a manager so far out of his depth it appeared a deliberate attempt to illustrate his greatness. At the same time, Woodward stepped in to replace the relatively capable administrator, David Gill. It is this episode that should concern Chelsea.

Manchester United former chief executive David Gill with Sir Alex Ferguson (R) before the match

Image credit: Reuters

Marina Granovskaia has been hailed as the administrative heart of the London club, striking business deals and transfers with an effectiveness at odds with their next opponents. But when Abramovich finally sells up, we will find out if her loyalties lay with the club - assuming she is wanted - or if she will continue as Abramovich’s chief assistant. Now, while Abramovich has had his business interests nobbled by sanctions for now, his gangsterish reputation might now go some way to retaining talent who might otherwise prefer to look elsewhere.
As Liverpool showed from their first American set of owners to the next, flash cash and taking punts based on stats is not foolproof. Roy Hodgson and Joe Cole is not the same as Jurgen Klopp and Mo Salah, just as Alex Ferguson and Robin van Persie is not Louis van Gaal and Angel Di Maria. The capacity for disaster in football is almost limitless once a club enters a death spiral of incompetence. The longer the bottom line can obscure long-term problems and promise fresh impetus with each change of manager, the more difficult it is to ever plan a proper turnaround.
Chelsea are in third, and short of a calamitous implosion, they have enough to get themselves to the end of the season regarding themselves as the best of the rest. None of Arsenal, Spurs or United should consider themselves able to get close to a properly functioning and funded Chelsea side next season. But that presupposes that Chelsea keep it together.
Tuchel and his side have thrown out some bizarre performances of late, and it is clear that Romelu Lukaku is not the only player who might be considering a future elsewhere. If United pull off a victory on Friday night then there is a slight, but not immaterial chance that the season could run away with them. As Ferguson once said of footballing momentum: when it goes, it goes quickly. End the season in disarray and chaos has the ability to take on its own momentum solely for its own sake. With a handful of games left and no trophies to win, Chelsea have everything and nothing to play for.
Transfers
Chelsea face battle to land Dembele - Paper Round
23/06/2022 AT 04:31
Ballon d'Or
Mendy reveals that Ballon d’Or snub has made him a ‘better person’
18/06/2022 AT 14:22