Selling their top talents to the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester City this transfer window, Chelsea could pay the ultimate price for strengthening their rivals.
Heading into this transfer window, it was clear that Chelsea was in desperate need of offloading a large portion of their squad due to the high influx of players coming through the door across the previous two windows.
With the amount of talent in the squad, it was a given that the club would lose some players of top quality, especially after finishing last season without any European football.
However, to the surprise of many, Mateo Kovacic, Kai Havertz, and Mason Mount were all sold by the Blues for a net total of £155 million, including all add-ons.
Stripping it down to the individual transfers, each player had their reasons for leaving Chelsea this Summer, but the clubs that they have strengthened should be a major area of concern for Chelsea fans, as they have sold to all of last season’s top three clubs in the Premier League, potentially weakening their own pursuit of Champions League football next campaign.
Mateo Kovacic to Manchester City
Firstly, Mateo Kovacic’s move to Manchester City for £25 million plus £5 million in add-ons is a deal that instantly raises eyebrows.Embed from Getty Images
It is obvious that Kovacic is a supremely talented footballer, but it seemed like at Chelsea, it just never really got going for him despite putting in some superb performances for the club.
The Croatian was heading into the final year of his deal at Chelsea, and therefore it was important for them to offload him this Summer if he felt he no longer wanted to stay at the club, so selling him here is not the issue.
The issue here is Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, as Kovacic perfectly supplements a midfield that just lost its captain in Ilkay Gundogan and helps the already-treble winners maintain their position at the top of the table for quite a small transfer fee.
Some would argue that Manchester City are untouchable, and with a player in the final year of their contract who is unlikely to resign, the money is more important for Chelsea than losing Kovacic to a team that may well achieve the same with or without him.
However, if Chelsea’s ambitions are to ultimately challenge for league titles again, the ability that Kovacic possesses to carry the ball through midfield into more advanced areas is something that Guardiola can utilise to his side’s benefit and is an unnecessary weapon that Chelsea have equipped Manchester City with.
Kai Havertz to Arsenal
Kai Havertz to Arsenal for a fee of £62 million plus £3 million in add-ons was another rather unexpected transfer that has taken place this window, with many not properly understanding Arsenal’s interest in the German international.Embed from Getty Images
During his time at Chelsea, Havertz scored the winning goal in their Champions League triumph in 2021 over Manchester City, but his time at the club was underwhelming for the price tag of £75.8 million that they had spent.
Being used predominantly as a false nine in his time at the club, Havertz struggled to impress as he lacked the ability to play with his back to goal, and simply missed too many big chances to be considered a proper replacement for a centre forward.
Transferring to Arsenal, it is strongly assumed that Havertz will operate in a different role as he embarks on a new journey at Arsenal, operating in a similar role to what Granit Xhaka played last season. However, he is expected to be given the licence to play slightly more advanced than his predecessor.
Although this is still just an assumption, as it is unclear exactly what plans Mikel Arteta has for the 24-year-old, but for the price that the Gunners have paid and with the Spaniard’s recent precision inside the last few transfer windows, it would not be a shock if he is able to get more out of Havertz’s abilities than what was shown at his previous London outfit.
If Arteta is able to extract Havertz’s full potential at Arsenal, this signing will further supplement a squad that finished second in the league and was one of the most exciting sides in the division last term.
Chelsea have undoubtedly done good business here in terms of recouping the maximum revenue on a player that has depreciated since their initial outlay in 2020 and wanted to leave the club, but the remaining core issue here in this transfer is that once again Chelsea may have strengthened a direct Premier League rival, and with the London connections, this one could hurt a whole lot more if it goes against them.
Mason Mount to Manchester United
If either of the other two signings did not raise your eyebrows at first glance, then the transfer of Mason Mount to Manchester United surely must have, shockingly leaving Chelsea after spending 18 years at his boyhood club.Embed from Getty Images
Being one of Chelsea’s most promising emerging talents over the last few seasons, Mason Mount has made a significant impact since making his debut for the Blues in 2017, winning the Champions League, Super Cup, and the Club World Cup.
Mount quickly became revered as one of the Premier League’s brightest young talents, impacting games at the highest level with goals and assists while bringing a tremendous work rate to the table.
However, Mount’s stock has dropped a sizeable amount over the course of the last 12 months since Chelsea’s form nosedived off a cliff, with the 24-year-old subsequently losing his place in the side, registering a mere five-goal contributions in comparison to the 21 he acquired in the season beforehand.
Now moving up the country to Manchester United for a fee of £55 million plus £5 million in add-ons, many are unsure whether or not the club has made the correct decision.
Although truth be told, Erik Ten Hag has had his eye on Mount for a long time—in fact, before most Premier League fans even knew who he was—as he tried to sign him for Ajax as a youngster after his successful loan spell at Vitesse.
Mount will at minimum bolster Manchester United’s midfield options and will finally provide Bruno Fernandes with some much-needed cover in case he needs to rest.
How seriously could this affect Chelsea?
Realistically, if Chelsea can be strategic in the transfer market with the money that they have acquired from all their sales and recruit some talent in midfield, they will be fine in terms of the talent in their squad that Mauricio Pochettino will be able to work with next season.
However, the issues come in terms of how they have strengthened their opposition, as they have provided Manchester City, Manchester United, and Arsenal with players that will deepen the quality of their squads and are all of the quality to start for their respective new clubs.
The competition for places in the top echelons of the Premier League is becoming less and less guaranteed than it has ever been before, and that is why we have seen less and less business between top-end clubs in the league over recent seasons.
This may end up impacting them on a financial basis, as some of these deals could assist their rival clubs in finishing above them and taking the revenue that Chelsea could have attained through Champions League qualification.
This is obviously all ifs, buts, and maybes, but there is a serious possibility of these dealings affecting them later down the line, and they may have been shortsighted in their approach here.
Maybe one or, at a push, two of the players could have been sold to direct Premier League rivals, but three is too much if they are serious about competing, and they could look back on this window with a lot of regret in 12 months’ time.