May 7th 2022 was the day things became different at Chelsea FC but also stayed the same.
There’s been a great deal of upheaval for the Blues in recent months in the aftermath of Roman Abramovich being sanctioned, perhaps with more to come after it was announced that Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss had agreed a deal to acquire the club.
Thomas Tuchel and the club as a whole have had to work under a number of conditions to satisfy the ‘special licence‘ awarded to allow Chelsea to continue operate despite the identity of their owner.
The situation sent a takeover process into overdrive, with little time to work with given the licence provided is set to expire by the end of May. As things stand, Chelsea are unable to engage in new agreements including player contracts and transfer talks, precluding them from resolving a number of squad issues and preparing for the summer transfer window.
The club have seen Antonio Rudiger decide to leave during this period, while a number of players including N’Golo Kante and Jorginho will soon be in the final years of their contract.
The time where the Blues can act may be approaching, however.
In the club’s statement announcing the ownership agreement it was revealed the sale is expected to be completed in late May subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.
For the takeover process to go through, adjustments are required to Chelsea’s licence, as the Government require assurances that none of the funds will go to Abramovich.
June 10th will then see the transfer window open for Premier League clubs, earlier than usual with the season being brought forward due to the World Cup at the end of the year.
There is no denying that Chelsea’s preparations for the transfer window have been made more difficult and under new owners, rivals may seek to take advantage with their pricing.
As a result the Blues may need to find their own positions of power.
The Blues have seen the difficulty first hand when players reach the final year of their contract, and to not be overcharged, may be best to look for such situations to help replenish a defence set to lose Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and potentially more.
Chelsea already appear to have interest in the likes of Jules Kounde, Marquinhos, Gleison Bremer and Josko Gvardiol among others.
Ensuring a defensive makeover will be difficult and it’s not difficult to see a defence comprised of ageing stars like Thiago Silva, combined with the less experience Trevoh Chalobah and as many are calling for, Levi Colwill.
At just 19, it is difficult to expect too much of Colwill, and Rudiger would have helped guide through a period of development without overcommitting.
Perhaps an old Chelsea target can offer a convenient opportunity, however.
Kalidou Koulibaly is set to enter the final year of his contract at Napoli.
The Senegalese teammate of Edouard Mendy, has been linked to both Manchester clubs in addition to the Blues in recent seasons with notorious Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis proving difficult to negotiate with.
An experienced, left-sided defender who can add something to the team, while not impeding the development of young prospects could be exactly what the Blues need.
Reports in Italy suggest Koulibaly will talk about his future at the end of the season, with Napoli unwilling to offer discounts.
If not, Napoli were linked to Emerson Palmieri last summer so Chelsea could have a tempting makeweight in the deal too.