The recent downfall of Chelsea has been reiterated by a pundit who believes an £88million European star should ‘upgrade’ by joining Newcastle United instead this summer.
Chelsea have spent £600million in the last two transfer windows after a Todd Boehly-led consortium took charge of the club. They have brought in big-name players such as Enzo Fernandez, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Mykhaylo Mudryk, as well as changing managers from Thomas Tuchel to Graham Potter.
However, Potter struggled to replicate the excitement and success from his time at Brighton and was subsequently sacked in April. Chelsea were linked with managers including Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique but instead decided to give themselves more time by landing club legend Frank Lampard on an interim basis.
However, Lampard failed to turn things around and Chelsea actually became worse with him at the helm. Luckily for Blues supporters, the club have acted by bringing in former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino in as their new head coach.
Pochettino will be able to focus solely on the Premier League and domestic cup competitions next term as Chelsea finished 12th in the Prem this season and will therefore not be playing in any kind of European competition.
One positive of this is that Chelsea can put all their attention on making the top four next season, as well as potentially winning an FA Cup or Carabao Cup. They will also have less games to play than some of their rivals.
But it is not all positive. Chelsea will struggle to add some of Pochettino’s targets to their squad without being able to offer them UCL football.
One player Pochettino may be interested in is Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix, who spent the second half of the season on loan at Stamford Bridge. Felix did not rip the Prem up – scoring only four goals in 16 appearances – but he was one of Chelsea’s rare sources of creativity even when they were playing poorly.
Newcastle could steal ‘really dangerous’ attacker from Chelsea
In an interview with Football Insider, former Tottenham and Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton has suggested the Portuguese snubs a return to Chelsea and heads to Newcastle instead. That is because the Magpies have qualified for next season’s UCL, with Hutton labelling them an ‘upgrade’.
“I thought he was one of the sparks for Chelsea,” Hutton said.
“He looked really dangerous even in his first few games.
“It has been difficult, you think of the pressure surrounding Chelsea, the managerial situation, the money that has been spent.
“He is obviously enjoying himself in the Premier League, Newcastle are an up and coming team, they are in the Champions League next season so he might see that as an upgrade at this moment in time.
“Obviously Chelsea will come back next season but it does not look like his future is at Atletico.”
Chelsea supporters will be very frustrated to see how well Newcastle are doing while they are languishing in mid table. The two clubs were far apart in 2021, with Chelsea finishing fourth in the league and also lifting their second ever UCL crown, while Newcastle only managed 12th.
But the two clubs have gone on remarkably different journeys since then, with Newcastle showing Chelsea how big money should be spent.
It will be interesting to see whether Pochettino manages to get the Chelsea squad to click next season so they can get back to where they belong.