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How Successful Will Chelsea’s Rebuild Be?
Todd Boehly successfully brought Chelsea Football Club back in May and as the summer transfer window continues, the LA Dodgers owner has started his rebuild of the London club.
As the 2010s came to a close, Chelsea fans could look back on the previous decade happily, The Blues being the most successful club in England - winning an impressive 11 trophies. This included three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a League Cup, two Europa League titles and a Champions League trophy.
However, since the turn of the decade, the trophy-winning machine has slowed slightly. The Blues have still added to their collection, winning another Champions League in 2021 along with the Super Cup and they finally completed their collection with the Club World Cup. But, Chelsea have also made three back-to-back appearances in the FA Cup Final and have lost all three, as well as another Final loss in the League Cup.
Can the Todd Boehly rebuild help Chelsea win a trophy this season?
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As of writing this, the only new signings The Blues have acquired are Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, the two blockbuster signings for Chelsea clearly showing Boehly’s intentions for the team.
Sterling joined The Blues from Premier League rivals Manchester City for a deal worth £47.5 million. The left winger had a more than impressive career at City, the Englishman winning four Premier League titles, an FA Cup, five League Cups and two Charity Shields.
Sterling is also a versatile player, being able to play on both wings and as a second striker. The latter position could be of utmost interest to Chelsea, who have struggled for years to fill the role of a prolific striker. For reference, Sterling has made 320 appearances in the Premier League for both City and Liverpool and has scored 109 goals whilst also registering 77 assists. He is also a prominent figure at the front for England, who he has scored 19 goals for in 77 appearances.
Overall, Sterling is a proven force in the Premier League, so the age-old struggle of transition periods shouldn’t be a problem, and his ability in front of goal is something Chelsea need in order to mount any challenge for silverware this season.
Koulibaly has been linked to Chelsea in many past transfer windows, but finally made his move to Stamford Bridge this summer. The Senegalese's move brought his eight-year spell at Napoli to an end, with their time together resulting in a Coppa Italia and a Supercoppa Italiana - other notable trophies won by Koulibaly also include a Belgian Cup from his time at Genk and an African Cup of Nations win with Senegal in 2021.
In the 2021/22 Serie A season, Koulibaly played 27 games. In these games, the centre-back only conceded 18 goals and kept 12 clean sheets, meaning he only conceded 0.67 goals per 90 minutes.
The Senegalese’s move to Chelsea is very important as The Blues lost both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this window, and therefore needed a big figure to slot into the defence. Koulibaly’s consistent form at Napoli suggests he should be a good fit for Chelsea, despite having never played in England.
The returns of Reece James and Ben Chilwell will feel akin to new signings, especially as the injuries to the two full-backs left Chelsea’s season in disarray. Along with this, the recalling of the likes of Connor Gallagher, Billy Gilmour and Armando Broja, who all impressed on their Premier League loans (some with more game time to show their potential), will feel like new signings.
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The most high-profile exits from Stamford Bridge this summer are that of Rudiger, Christensen and Romelu Lukaku.
The departure of two centre-backs leaves a gaping hole in the back, but The Blues have already made moves to remedy this, namely the signing of Koulibaly.
However, the exit of Lukaku after one particularly tumultuous season back at Chelsea for Inter Milan leaves yet another vacancy in the striker role. Timo Werner is still at the club, but has only scored ten goals in 56 appearances after struggling to find his footing at the front. Sterling can be employed as a second striker as he often was under Pep Guardiola, but in order to truly compete for trophies and titles, The Blues need an out-and-out striker who can consistently score or compete for the Golden Boot.
The striker issue has been apparent since the departure of Diego Costa back in 2018, with the likes of Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, Olivier Giroud, Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner attempting to fill the role of instinctive striker but failing.
The acquisition of a goal-scoring forward is the single most important aspect for a full Chelsea rebuild under Todd Boehly and should be addressed within the next couple transfer windows.
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