Chelsea is now under new ownership after their turbulent second half of the season which saw them unable to function as a club thanks to unforeseen circumstances.
American billionaire Todd Boehly is the face of the consortium which now owns the club, after they bought it from Roman Abramovich and paid £4.2 billion to the government of the United Kingdom for the ownership rights.
The club’s fans are looking forward to many good things with the new owners but this season could see the club fall short of their expectations.
In the following section, we will outline why we believe this to be so.
A change in management
Sky Sports have reported that the club’s top executives, Bruce Buck and Marina Granovskaia have been replaced by the new owners. Boehly is going to take over the chairman role formerly held by Buck and will serve as the interim sporting director, which was Granovskaia’s position.
A change in management at such a time is not the best for any club because it will affect the season’s preparations. Signings will be slow and the necessary changes which are required will take some time because the new management will have to review each one to understand them or make modifications according to their whims.
If this happened while the season was going on, it would have been less of a problem for the club because they would have had a structure to follow and the new management would have enough time to understand and then come up with their own preferred modus operandi.
This is already evident in the way the club have failed to complete any moves for any of the players they are linked to or any sales for any of the players they wish to offload.
There is also the issue of Boehly being an American whose sports operations (and possibly sports) knowledge is limited to baseball and basketball (he co-owns the baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers and basketball teams Los Angeles Sparks and Los Angeles Lakers with Mark Walter, another Chelsea owner).
The American billionaire will take some time adjusting and this will see things slow down. Luckily, he will have Granovskaia and Buck to advise him but things will not go as fast as when people with actual football knowledge are in charge.
Financial models will change
Chelsea is also now under the ownership of five different major stakeholders instead of one private individual.
American investment firm Clearlake Capital is reported to be the major contributor to the funds used for the acquisition. Together with Boehly and British property magnate Jonathan Goldstein, Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss and Walter, they will be particular about how the club makes and spends money.
Chelsea benefited greatly from Abramovich’s magnanimity in his time as owner. He was willing to spend from his own purse when the club needed some injection of funds. The new owners may be willing to do this, but not at the level of the Russian billionaire who leaves behind the £1.5 billion he spent on the club from his personal funds.
Chelsea will become a properly run business under the new owners who will surely prioritise book balancing over sporting success and this will take some adjusting to for the club and the fans.