Victor Osimhen’s transfer to Chelsea won’t ensure success, as acknowledged by Mauricio Pochettino
Followers of Chelsea will likely be sick of the mention of the project and the process the club are currently undertaking. Points and prizes are what the Blues would hope to be more concerned with and both are providing difficult with the season past its halfway mark.
In many regards making the Carabao Cup final was supposed to be a formality against Middlesbrough, as much as football can ever offer one. However, Hayden Hackney’s goal at the Riverside ensured Chelsea head into the second leg with a deficit. With the Blues’ abilities in front of goal never a guarantee, progression is more difficult than it once was.
That the result was an upset without providing too much in the way of surprise is perhaps the most damning indictment. Chelsea showed difficulties that Mauricio Pochettino hoped his side would not repeat as they swapped domestic cup competitions. To an extent they avoided those issues but instead fell on the familiar problem of being clinical in front of goal.
There was discontent in the stands and that has extended to the wider fanbase. There’s an acknowledgment that at the moment there appears to be more problems than solutions.
The club might point to strong underlying numbers in many of their performances where they have dropped points. Hearing that excuse time and again will not wash however. Pochettino acknowledged as much on Tuesday – ‘if you don’t score goals you cannot win’.
It has been a chaotic period for the Blues. There has been complete overhaul of the squad and a steadfast injury crisis for a young group of players. It is perhaps no surprise there has been inconsistency that has driven Chelsea to a midtable position.
It does not excuse all of the issues, however. While Chelsea’s problem in front of goal is not as bad as in the 2022/23 season, it is often difficult to see the patterns of play the team is trying to utilise. Too often there is pause and uncertainty.
Frustratingly in some ways, pre-season and the early weeks of the term showed an idea of playing even if seeing Ben Chilwell on the wing was infuriating for something. However, losing Christopher Nkunku and Carney Chukwuemeka at that early stage mean a change in tact was required.
This has been a season of trying to find answers for Pochettino every week as he attempt to find balance in the side. Some might say now is the moment to find answers in the transfer word. Time to sign a striker such as Victor Osimhen or Ivan Toney. In reality, it still feels like time for stability.
The number of transfers in and out of the club in the summer may have been unprecedent in the Premier League. There is no previous group to judge Pochettino against. That is not to say he shouldn’t be judged. That is what elite football demands and head coaches must deliver.
For the moment, getting the squad fit is vital so that the team and coaching staff can be assessed accurately. How long of a period that takes place over will be at the discretion of the club’s owners and sporting directors. Make no mistake, their reputation is at risk too.
Much like the team on the pitch must learn to be persistent in every moment however, the same is true behind the scenes. Stability is required to create a real platform.
Chelsea were served a real lesson in the transfer business they completed 12 months ago in search of Champions League glory and qualification. Too many players and too many problems. Things only got worse.
There is understandably a worry that Chelsea will repeat their midtable finish. They must attempt a different avenue to avoid it and for the moment, show confidence in their work. There is guarantee Toney or Osimhen would provide the answer. The latter has been outscored by Romelu Lukaku so far this season and the Belgian is still owned by the Blues.