OPINION: Why Chelsea’s Heavy Investment Hasn’t Yielded Results


The date is May 12th, 2017 and a late goal from Michy Batshuayi has been enough to see off a spirited West Bromwich Albion side and put Chelsea 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League with two games left to play.

That title, Chelsea’s second in three years and their fifth since Roman Abramovich’s mega-money takeover is the last domestic title that the club have won. Since then Maurizio Sarri, Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel have all come and gone as have a multitude of players, costing the club a reported £1.3 billion.

Much of that figure - £536.05 million - has been spent this season by Chelsea’s new American owner Todd Boehly. 

The figure’s mentioned above however, are purely based on outgoings, so what about Chelsea’s net spend during that period? They top the table on that metric as well with a net spend of £706.5, which is almost three times higher than those of Manchester City and Liverpool respectively – two sides that have won every league title since 2017.

After the arrival of Roman Abramovich, Chelsea fans were often told that they had bought all of their titles and trophies. If it’s the case that money buys success, why then, haven’t Chelsea lifted the Premier League title since 2017 despite spending one and a half billion pounds? Sports betting gives Chelsea good odds of winning the league each year but they haven’t found the form to do so.

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

During Arsenal’s struggles last season and the season before, we Chelsea fans openly mocked Gunners fans for blindly listening to their manager Mikel Arteta when he urged them to ‘trust the process’ off the back of another embarrassing defeat.

At the time of writing, Arsenal and Mikel Arteta find themselves atop of the Premier League, 29 points clear of Chelsea, trusting very much in their process. The North London club’s success this season is no fluke, rather it is the result of years of planning and hard work. It is the juicy harvest of a long and difficult growing period.

The Arsenal hierarchy identified Arteta as an up and coming coach, went after him and have since gone about backing him as fully as possible so that he can realise his ambition at the club. 

Hard decisions have been made, such as the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as his attitude was incongruent with Arteta’s vision or the decision to not break their budget by entering a bidding war with Chelsea for Mykhailo Mudryk.

Meanwhile at Chelsea the polar opposite has occurred. Maurizio Sarri, the man of rigid systems and tactical minutiae was hired as head coach before being replaced by Frank Lampard, who whilst an undoubted Chelsea legend, is not the most tactically astute or systems orientated manager.

When the Lampard experiment failed, Thomas Tuchel was brought in as his replacement and hit the ground running, guiding the club to the FA Cup final and, memorably, winning the Champions League in Porto.

After struggling to convert continental success to the domestic game last season, Tuchel was heavily backed in the summer by new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly. The aforementioned Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was signed on a two-year deal.

The thinking being that, when reunited with his former manager, the Gabon international would be able to rediscover his scoring boots and inject the firepower into Chelsea’s team that was so sorely lacking.

Seven days later Tuchel was relieved of his duties as Chelsea manager, cutting short his reunion with his former star striker. In his place came Graham Potter, the Englishman heralded for his successes at Ostersunds, Swansea and Brighton working with small budgets.

It quickly became apparent that Aubameyang did not fit into Potter’s plans and that to succeed, the former Brighton manager would need a focal point in attack and a replacement for the energy and defensive nous of N’Golo Kante in the engine room.

In January hundreds of millions were spent by the club, none of which went toward providing a solution to those two issues. What’s worse is that Potter, a man fabled for his training ground work, was being forced to conduct training drills for twice as many players as usual thanks to the owner’s impulsive spending.

This blasé, short-term thinking has plagued Chelsea for years now and whilst it may yield the odd cup trophy it is not a recipe for long-term success nor, in light of the Premier League’s recent investigation into Manchester City’s spending, is it prudent. 

If Chelsea are to change tact and commit to a long-term plan it will continue to be painful for fans in the short-term but just ask Arsenal fans whether they think it’s worth trusting in the process…

Read more on online betting. Get new content updates as they drop via Twitter and Facebook