Chelsea have been living in somewhat of a fantasy world when it comes to the transfer window, but the stark reality of the Premier League continues to expose all of their weaknesses.
With Wesley Fofana’s £70million-plus transfer from Leicester to be announced on Wednesday, the Blues will be back to the top of the charts for spending. As that move is wrapped up, reports emerged that Josko Gvardiol could be joining for a further £77m. RB Leipzig quickly denied all talk, but further prove this club is shopping in a luxury market.
Tuesday also saw transfer targets Anthony Gordon and Wilfried Zaha prove why they are being coveted with crucial goals, for Everton and Crystal Palace respectively, add Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to that list and it could be a very busy final 48 hours of the summer window.
Chelsea expect to break the world record spend in a single summer transfer window. Improving the squad has been the focus of the new Boehly-Clearlake ownership group - who were at St Mary’s to take in the game.
These remarkable market stories have been funded by the owners but partly masterminded by Tuchel, who is involved in all transfer business. However, his first job is to take charge of the first team and, at the moment, is only producing below-par performances.
The 2-2 draw with Tottenham is the outlier, otherwise Chelsea have toiled to victories against a poor Everton team and a crisis-hit Leicester City side, the latter in fortunate circumstances, to leave them in eighth place after five games. This defeat, their second of the season, was as bad as the 3-0 away defeat to Leeds United a fortnight ago.
Chelsea had started well, scoring through a well-worked Raheem Sterling finish to get the lead they deserved. However, they soon conceded to a Romeo Lavia strike and never recovered as Adam Armstrong deservedly made it 2-1 just before half-time.
The defence and midfield fell apart in a new 4-2-2-2 formation, with the Blues switching back to a back five and using four substitutes in failed attempts to rescue the match.
There was no improvement, despite Chelsea eating up possession, and Southampton comfortably hung onto the win and should have won by a bigger margin after Marc Cucurella and Thiago Silva pulled off impressive goalline clearances.
In theory, Chelsea can go on spending money to solve every single problem in their team. Yet, that’s not the wise move.
Chelsea need to rediscover the tough mentality that won them the Champions League, breathe life into a stagnant forward line and find a new system which allows them to express themselves.
It’s all easier said than done. The market can fix certain problems, but Southampton showed good work on the training field is a big part of realising your goals.