A month after taking his place in the stands to watch Chelsea play Real Madrid in the Champions League, Todd Boehly was able to turn up to Stamford Bridge, knowing that it is now only a matter of time before he is the club’s custodian.
Boehly has been the clear face leading the bid comprising of himself, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walters and Hansjoerg Wyss throughout the process, and the consortium were the earliest to announce their intentions and the last bid standing in Rain Group’s process.
That Boehly and co-signed, an agreement was announced in the early hours of Saturday morning, with the prospect of a takeover being complete by the end of the month.
The American owner of the LA Dodgers did not have to wait long to see some of his most expensive assets as Thomas Tuchel selected Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku in his starting XI. The Blues coach highlighted that he had been impressed with both players during a rare week of training at Cobham.
Opportunities were rare for the duo in the opening half, who found themselves with a couple of strikes on goal, but Timo Werner and Ruben Loftus-Cheek saw goals ruled out.
The German international for a foul in the build-up to his strike, while Loftus-Cheek was judged offside.
The club are still without the ability to discuss new contracts or make progress in new signings, so the prospect remains far away for now.
With £2.5 billion being used to purchase Chelsea’s shares and a further £1.75 billion being committed to investment in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team, Kingsmeadow and the continued funding of the Chelsea Foundation, some may wonder what is left to spend in the transfer market.
Reports suggest that Boehly plans to soon meet with Tuchel to discuss Chelsea’s immediate needs, and rumours have been abounding that the group hope to turn the Blues into a more efficient operator in the footballing marketplace.
Keeping the right players will be as important as buying them.
For much of this season, Lukaku has looked like a piece from the wrong jigsaw rather than the answer to the problems the Blues thought they had solved at the start of the season.
Not involved often enough and ill-fitting with the pressing Tuchel seems to prefer from his forwards.
In front of the eyes of Chelsea’s prospective new owner, Lukaku ensured that he could make an impact against Wolves.
No penalty was given, but as the referee and VAR made their mind up, Lukaku had already claimed the ball – ready to step up from 12 yards.
The 28-year-old landed what should have been a knockout blow just moments later as he produced an explosive strike with his right foot that landed past Jose Sa. A much-need brace that has left Lukaku as Chelsea’s top goalscorer this season.
As Tuchel said ahead of the game: “We signed a big player, and he is still a big player.”
Handshakes on the bench were well earned, and it will give Boehly something to ponder, with little chance of the Blues being able to find a return on the striker in the summer if they were to part ways.
While a comfortable victory would have been a nice way to start the fairytale of new ownership, Lukaku was left frustrated and Boehly with his head in his hands.
With the current sanctions, for the moment, Lukaku ‘is a very important part of the squad next season‘.
Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are already set to depart, with Cesar Azpilicueta’s future and form both appearing uncertain.
With the likes of Saul Niguez and Malang Sarr being part of the backline at various points in the second half, Chelsea’s depth is perhaps not where they would like it to be.
Chelsea might feel they have the start of an answer with Roman Abramovich’s replacement finally seeming to emerge.
It is only the beginning for a new set of questions.