Chelsea have had a chaotic transfer window but Todd Boehly will not be panicking

Chelsea have had a chaotic transfer window but Todd Boehly will not be panicking - PA
Chelsea have had a chaotic transfer window but Todd Boehly will not be panicking - PA

It will be in September, once 100 days of active possession are deemed to have passed, that Chelsea’s owners will sit down to assess the start they have made.

Some supporters will no doubt begin to draw their own conclusions on Saturday evening, after Chelsea have kicked off their Premier League campaign against Everton, such is the knee-jerk nature of football opinion.

The Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital owners have already learned that gauging any sort of opinion through social media is a waste of time, which is why they will wait for 100 days to elapse before starting any sort of self-analysis - by which time, Thomas Tuchel’s team will be at least five fixtures into the new season and the transfer window will be shut.

Although they officially took charge in May, Chelsea owners did not start their 100-day countdown until June, when Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech all departed, and Boehly named himself interim sporting director. It was a brave move from the American billionaire, who took Buck’s title of chairman, and one that not only raised eyebrows outside Chelsea but also from within the walls of Stamford Bridge.

Boehly’s decision placed a greater responsibility on the shoulders of head coach Tuchel, who has made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion this summer - once in front of American supporters at Universal Studios in Orlando - that he has not enjoyed playing a more active role in transfers.

In fact, Tuchel did not seem to enjoy much at all about the summer, describing the two-week tour of the United States as “exhausting” and warning that he could not guarantee his squad would be ready for the start of the new season.

It is not uncommon, especially at Chelsea, for coaches to become exasperated during pre-season, which is why the new owners would have been relatively relaxed about Tuchel’s post-game rant following the 4-0 friendly defeat to Arsenal in Orlando - particularly as they had not been responsible for organising such a gruelling tour.

Thomas Tuchel was less than impressed after losing to Arsenal in Florida - GETTY IMAGES
Thomas Tuchel was less than impressed after losing to Arsenal in Florida - GETTY IMAGES

The victories against Udinese, together with a deal to sign Manchester City target Marc Cucurella from Brighton and a new two-year contract for captain Cesar Azpilicueta, should have improved Tuchel’s mood even if he will still have misgivings over whether or not Chelsea can close the gap on City and Liverpool.

Across the pond, the LA Dodgers - Boehly’s other main sporting interest - aim to start every baseball season with the guarantee of finishing in the top three or four with no lower than a 17 per cent chance of winning the World Series. Chelsea may well start to set their ambitions by a similar metric.

Early results will help to determine how costly Boehly, Tuchel and Chelsea supporters view some of the transfer deals that could not be closed this summer.

Those who have dealt with Boehly so far have described him as being personable and likeable, and there has not been any lingering ill-feeling between the main negotiators over the ones that got away, including Matthijs de Light, Raphinha, Nathan Ake and Jules Kounde.

Todd Boehly watches on as Chelsea train in Los Angeles - GETTY IMAGES
Todd Boehly watches on as Chelsea train in Los Angeles - GETTY IMAGES

There will be more signings before the window shuts. Chelsea have an interest in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Wesley Fofana and Kyle Walker-Peters, although inquiries around the latter were treated with caution by Southampton and sources close to the player, with both parties making the observation that “Boehly has been talking to everyone.”

Boehly was well aware this was likely to be an imperfect transfer window, but Chelsea are on course to spend well over £200 million this summer and with the misses have come hits.

Raheem Sterling has joined from City in a deal that prompted Sergio Aguero to question the actions of his former club, Kalidou Koulibaly was prised out of Napoli with surprising ease and Chelsea moved quickly on Cucurella once City decided against paying over £50m for the left-back.

It should not be ignored that big investments have also been made into Chelsea’s next generation and the women’s team, the most eye-catching of which was the £20m spent on Carney Chukwuemeka, an 18-year-old who had less than 12 months remaining on his Aston Villa contract and has made 13 appearances in the Premier League.

Carney Chukwuemeka has joined Chelsea from Aston Villa - GETTY IMAGES
Carney Chukwuemeka has joined Chelsea from Aston Villa - GETTY IMAGES

It is understandable that there has been an element of chaos and naivety to the way in which Boehly and the new ownership have approached their first transfer window, which will no doubt stand them in good stead to work with a permanent sporting director in future.

Chelsea’s owners ideally want a permanent sporting director in place in plenty of time for the January transfer window and talks have been ongoing with a number of candidates alongside transfer negotiations and meetings with Tuchel.

It is instructive of the value Boehly will place on the sporting director post that the LA Dodgers made Andrew Friedman the highest-paid front-office executive in baseball when they hired him as president of baseball operations on a salary worth £28.6m in 2014.

That contract has since been extended with a healthy wage increase and Boehly has spoken to associates of finding his Friedman equivalent for Chelsea, whether that proves to be Michael Edwards or somebody else.

A year after appointing Friedman, the Dodgers were involved in a three-team, 13-player swap deal, which perhaps explains why Boehly, who has worked closely with co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali, was so keen to try to pursue trades involving Chelsea’s unwanted players when he initially made offers for players.

'Not ashamed to retain some American approaches'

Saddled with a number of high-earning, under-performing players, Chelsea’s owners have found selling even harder than buying and have not been scared to accept financial hits in allowing Romelu Lukaku and Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has been negotiating a switch to Napoli, to leave on loan after quickly realising that trades in football are uncommon for a reason.

Chelsea’s new owners have already started to try to re-balance the wage bill by allowing players to leave and creating a new structure whereby players' contracts will be heavily incentivised in future.

The new signings have accepted deals that offer bonuses for playing in at least 60 per cent of games across a season and qualifying for the Champions League, whereas the previous regime paid out big guaranteed salaries with bonuses only awarded for winning silverware.

Supporters will start to notice changes and upgrades to the entrances and surrounding areas of Stamford Bridge when they arrive for the first home game against Tottenham Hotspur next Sunday, with the new owners hoping to quickly provide a more family friendly and immersive experience.

The fact Tom Glick was named president of business, rather than chief executive, much to the amusement of some, demonstrated Boehly and Co are not ashamed to retain some of the American approaches that have worked so well for them in their other organisations.

They are also not too proud to admit they are learning on the job and it may well be that the first 100 days prove to be some of the hardest and most instructive that they face.