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15 Jul, 2022 15:03

Chelsea manager describes life after Abramovich

Operations at the club have changed considerably after the exit of the Russian billionaire
Chelsea manager describes life after Abramovich

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he has an “intense” relationship with the club’s new US owners after the consortium led by Todd Boehly took over from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Boehly has been described as a hands-on force since he completed a £4.25 billionaire ($5 billion) deal for the Stamford Bridge club with investment group Clearlake Capital back in May.

The American, who is also co-owner of baseball team the LA Dodgers, has been an integral part of Chelsea’s summer transfer dealings after several stalwarts of the Abramovich era departed following the sale of the club.  

That included chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia, the latter of whom had effectively run the club for Abramovich in recent years and negotiated player contracts.

Technical and performance adviser Petr Cech – a legend from his playing days at Stamford Bridge – also recently departed his post.

Speaking from the US, where Chelsea are on a pre-season tour, manager Tuchel detailed how things now operate with Boehly.   

“The relationship [with the owners] is very intense, very close, which it has to be – because without Petr and without Marina, it's a big change in the daily structure and communication,” Tuchel told the BBC.

“I’m a lot more involved. I have to step up in terms of responsibility. I think in the long term or even when the close of the pre-season comes, I will want to be more on the coaching role again.

“But right now it’s important to improve our team, to bring players in to stay competitive because we want to compete for a minimum of top four.

“Given the fact that Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United act on the transfer market for weeks and months, we need to be smart, we need to be fast and we need to find solutions. It’s my job to help,” added the 48-year-old. 

It’s been reported that Boehly is ready to sanction transfer spending of up to £200 million this summer as Tuchel seeks to bolster his squad.

This week saw the first major signing of the post-Abramovich era when Chelsea unveiled England winger Raheem Sterling, who arrived from Manchester City for a fee reportedly worth up to £50 million.

Elsewhere, an agreement for Senegal and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is said to be close, although Chelsea have missed out on center-back Nathan Ake after Manchester City decided against a deal.

Tuchel has also opted not to pursue a move for Cristiano Ronaldo, even though Boehly was reportedly intrigued by the prospect of the Portuguese superstar arriving at Stamford Bridge.

After a 19-year stint as owner, Abramovich was forced to put Chelsea up for sale in early March, shortly before being sanctioned by the UK government for his alleged ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Chelsea themselves were subjected to operational restrictions, and Tuchel told The Daily Mail there had been some “crazy moments” amid the uncertainty surrounding the club towards the end of last season.

“It was a very strange situation for a club used to a kind of level and organization and support that’s absolutely outstanding normally,” added the German.

New owner Boehly was seen addressing the Chelsea squad in the US this week, and Tuchel told the Mail that he was in touch with his American boss “directly on a daily basis.”

“Sometimes more than once on a daily basis because we are aware that we have a club in transition and change,” said the Blues manager, who guided Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League title in 2021, followed by the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup crowns.  

“My concern is for the team to be competitive and for this we have to invest a lot of time and we need to be hands on. There is no other way.”

Chelsea take on Mexican team Club America in a pre-season meeting at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas this Saturday, as they continue their preparations ahead of the new campaign.