Exclusive: Chelsea flop serving as ‘warning sign’ to major targets, as dubious Boehly call backfires a second time
Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, reporter Ben Jacobs fears one specific Chelsea player is serving as a stark warning to higher profile targets with a major Todd Boehly decision having another disastrous consequence.
The Blues have forked out well in excess of £500m on new recruits in the last two transfer windows. However, despite the enormous outlay, Chelsea have regressed on the pitch.
The 1-0 victory over Leeds Utd on Saturday was their first in the league since January 15. They’ve also exited both domestic cups on Graham Potter’s watch and will take a one-goal deficit into the second leg of their Champions League Last 16 clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Potter is understood to retain the confidence of Todd Boehly and his Clearlake partners despite the dismal results. Potter was hand-picked by Boehly and co. after sacking the popular Thomas Tuchel just 100 days after the new regime took charge.
That decision is looking rather dubious as the season wears on. However, according to reporter Ben Jacobs, axeing Tuchel is also having an unintended effect on their transfer policy.
Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, Jacobs pointed to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a player who’s serving as a “warning sign” to Chelsea’s attacking targets.
Aubameyang was signed at Tuchel’s behest late in the summer window. However, Tuchel was removed soon after and Aubameyang quickly became the elephant in the room at Stamford Bridge.
The ex-Arsenal frontman was omitted for Chelsea’s UCL squad and has barely got a kick under Potter. Jacobs suggested Boehly’s decision to sack Tuchel, which in turn led to Aubameyang being ostracised, will make higher profile transfer targets think twice about joining Chelsea.
Indeed, if Aubameyang can go from hero to zero in the blink of an eye, Jacobs believes other frontmen will harbour concerns they too could become expendable if joining the Blues.
Players will think ‘look what happened to Aubameyang’ – Jacobs
“Aubameyang has become a bit of a model for Chelsea, even if unfairly, whereby other players may say, ‘look what happened to a Aubameyang’,” said Jacobs.
“A year ago or so in February of last year, unveiled at Barcelona, happy, settled, loved the move, and Xavi really appreciated him and wanted to keep him, make no mistake about that.
“But it was just good value for all parties to allow him to move to Chelsea. So he moves to Chelsea. Why? Because Thomas Tuchel was manager at the time and was driving the transfer.
“And then weeks later, Tuchel’s gone and it’s all changed. The new manager doesn’t quite see Aubameyang as the right fit and others move above him in the pecking order.
“Suddenly fast-forward a year from that Barcelona unveiling and Aubameyang isn’t in the Champions League squad. He’s not starting games, and he’s rarely involved at all.
“And if you’re another forward, particularly a slightly more established one that wants week-in week-out game-time. Aubameyang, even if it’s a little unfair, is just that little warning sign maybe at the back of your mind that says ‘what if I move and the manager changes? What if I move and it’s a big squad and I don’t play as much as I thought’.”
The biggest on-field issue at Chelsea this season has unquestionably been in the final third. Their mark of 24 goals is only good enough for joint-13th in the Premier League this season.
A new centre-forward is expected to be targeted come the summer, though Aubameyang’s failed stint may wind up serving as a deterrent to a target or two.
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