An opinion of Chelsea's transfer policy this season.

Antonio Conte has repeatedly complained about the size of his squad. We needed to add to our squad without completely disrupting it in th...

Antonio Conte has repeatedly complained about the size of his squad. We needed to add to our squad without completely disrupting it in the summer. We got Caballero in on a free. Who did we buy? Morata for a club record fee in the region of £60m. And four more fully fledged internationals. Our squad has had something like £200m spent on it in the last six months. There is literally no point trawling each and every bullsh*t link the Red Swarm have come up with since last May looking for evidence of the board's "failure" to sign players. I'll stick with the ones from Blue Squirrel:

Lukaku - We wanted him. At least someone in the club did. Then Everton tried to get Fabregas or Willian as part of the deal. We said f*ck off. The price went up. Too much. United were willing to pay this price because they have more money than sense. We signed Morata instead. As far as I'm concerned, we win. And so does Conte, who preferred him in the first place. 

Sandro - I think it’s safe to say that Conte really wants him. The board got this done. Juve ultimately refused to sell him to us because they had been unable to purchase a replacement in that position and pulled out of the deal. I don’t know what his motivations were to join us. If it was to play for Conte, we may not get him now, but there was no reason this couldn’t have gone through this summer. 

Oxlade-Chamberlain - Went to the Scouse because they made promises about what position he would be playing in. Personally I thought he was overpriced anyway. I’m not losing sleep over it.

Barkley - This one was a total clusterf*ck in the summer. The board got him in the door and into a medical before he decided to go home. He was injured anyway, had a meltdown, whatever. Whose fault it was at the time I don’t know, but he plays for us now, so it got fixed.

So what I’m saying is let’s not have a Yaya Toure style, birthday cake meltdown about a lack of spending in the last two windows. They may not have come up trumps in everything; wide players, for one, another striker, but the board have not been idle. Have they bought the players that Conte wanted? Quite possibly not. Because he's had one foot out of the door since last summer. At his own instigation we had no idea if he intended to stay or walk, so would you be catering to his requests? Or taking the actions you deem necessary to secure the long term future of the squad whoever may be in charge? Seems to me there is a certain element of making your own bed and having to lie in it here. 

Who did we sell? Solanke - no choice. He ran his contract down and went somewhere offering more money. He was already stealing a living. Not bothered. Cuadrado - Already long gone anyway. Begovic - replaced by Caballero, no worries. Then the problems start. Chalobah and Ake were more puzzling. Unless you look at it from a non-Blue perspective. They didn’t want to stay, baffling as that may be to us. It’s not like they are setting the league on fire now that they have moved on, so were we wrong in terms of how good they were? Doesn’t look like it. But what does look bizarre is letting players walk out of the door when it’s detrimental to your own prospects because you won’t have enough of them. You’d think it was common sense to talk with your manager before you go into a room with these guys, but, who knows? Matic was the big one. He wanted to leave 12 months previously but we apparently made a deal with him - stay one more season then we'll let you go. His intention was always to follow Chequebook Pulis. Chelsea had two choices so far as he was concerned. Turn a profit, or force him to stay on against his will until he’s out of contract. To many of us it looked like the club weren’t stern enough, selfish enough. We got more than he was worth, especially considering his habit of going missing and his age, but he went to a rival, which stuck in my throat. Ultimately he had made his decision, we opted for financial compensation over moral victory in this one (because we aren’t Arsenal) and we extracted the maximum we could out of it. Opinions will vary about whether this was right or wrong, and if Conte wasn’t involved in this decision you can see why he’d be p*ssed off. 

Conclusion? Conte isn’t particularly in the loop when it comes to who the board pursue or let leave if they show the inclination. But they haven’t hung him out to dry with purchasing players as some of the nappy sh*tters who constantly shriek about them would like to believe. Have the relations between the board and Conte been appropriate? Clearly something is wrong in terms of communication. Why does Conte feel the need to publicly address his issues with the board instead of dealing with them through appropriate channels? Of course there is a chance he’s just a lunatic, but he’s been a functioning, successful coach for a long time and to put it entirely on him is a stretch, however much you disagree with the way he is conducting himself right now. This needs to be addressed by the board. Still, after the game today he has still been reminding everybody that he doesn’t make any decisions. You’ve got a disgruntled employee. Deal with it. Kick his a*se or compromise, work out your differences. I don’t care who may have a problem with who and who is right and who is wrong, and who promised what and who has got a point. I’d just appreciate it if they all keep it in the boardroom where it belongs and get their sh*t together. Then when everybody emerges if they could act like grown ups that would be great. God knows everyone involved gets paid enough. 

For me, if Conte goes in the summer, he will have been the architect of his own downfall to a significant degree. That will make me sad because I really do like him. I love what he has achieved with us, I love his passion, it’s infectious and we really had found a coach who everyone liked and who looked like he might stay for a reasonable length of time. His job has never been at risk from the club’s end. The simple truth is that we don't know what he was promised and just how much of a right he has to feel aggrieved about whether that has or hasn’t been forthcoming from the board. I have to add though, that given their determined backing of him during the Costa debacle, which was a monumental cock-up on Antonio’s part with text-gate and which harmed the strength of the squad, he can’t claim that support from above has been non-existent and lacking conviction. We can take a reasonable stab at the expectations on him and surmise that he has not fallen short of them so far. Even if he feels like it is his only outlet, it is not befitting for a manager to take his complaints to the press every time they wave a microphone anywhere near his face and criticise his employer. In any walk of life it would be unprofessional conduct and he should stop. Then go and knock on someone’s door instead. I would just like to wake up on one morning and not read umpteen articles about how the inside of Chelsea Football Club is like Lord of the F*cking Flies. 


Written by Alex Churchill from the fantastic Chelsea Blog - A Girl who likes balls

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