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Chelsea ‘still backing’ Mauricio Pochettino, but face dilemma over transfer policy — report

Time to reevaluate?

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Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino’s time in charge of Chelsea has been remarkably free of any sort of the pressure that’s been a constant feature of the club over the past couple decades, but as we continue to be mired in midtable mediocrity — and seemingly trending in the wrong direction — that pressure is starting to arrive.

That of course includes the media vultures who like nothing more than a crisis club. Here’s an example of that from the Daily Mail, starting to hint at all the usual bits of discord you often get at teams where things are going as well as they should be (those not playing talking with their agents, potential conflict between coaches and front office, etc, etc). It never takes much for things to go awry in professional sports when teams aren’t winning. It’s the nature of the beast, and surely we all know that by now. I would think most would find that boring by now, but evidently now. And you know, gotta get them clicks!

That’s not to say that it’s all hunky-dory behind the scenes; it probably isn’t. And obviously shouldn’t be. Nobody should be happy with how things are going, so when we hear about coaches, players, or upper management being unhappy ... well, that’s the least of what should be happening at this point.

In fairness to the coverage, Pochettino has brought some of this onto himself with his post-match comments this weekend, asking for new players following record-breaking spending from the club over the past few transfer windows, and opening a fresh can of worms. Not that Chelsea’s transfer policy hadn’t been scrutinized before, but 6-18 months into this billion-dollar project (depending on how you’re counting), we have done very little to disprove the skeptics ... or the adage that you cannot win anything with kids, regardless of their transfer fees.

The Telegraph’s (seemingly) club-sourced reporting informs that we (i.e. the club) recognize that 2023, the full calendar year, has been nothing short of a “disaster” and we may even be re-evaluating our transfer policy as a result. That would certainly be a change from the previous staunch belief that we can do little wrong, despite the constant upheaval behind the scenes, not to mention the tragedy of the football side of things. Speaking of the former, the club now believe that “progress away from the pitch has been made following a series of behind-the-scenes appointments”. Now we just need progress closer to the pitch.

The report adds off-hand that “there is still backing for Pochettino”, which could indeed pose a dilemma if he does in fact “ditch ‘project’ players in favour of big names” — presumably those “big names” arriving in January since a lot of the “project” players are our “big names” at the moment. The (not-so-big?) names potentially on the chopping block are the usual candidates, including Trevoh Chalobah, Ian Maatsen, Armando Broja, Noni Madueke, or, yes, Conor Gallagher. Players coming in will always mean players going out. At least we learned that lesson by now.

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