Chelsea had an underwhelming transfer window as they failed to secure a number of targets but went some way to making amends in the final hours.
Antonio Conte isn’t in charge of signing players for Chelsea and thus the pressure has been piled upon directors Marina Granovskaia and Michael Emenalo after a series of rejections around transfer deadline day.
The outrage is generally amplified on social media, but fans were unhappy with the transfer chiefs despite the six signings that the club brought in over the past few months.
Chelsea’s initial signings of Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Willy Caballero were deemed as not enough. Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater arrived in the very final hours of the window to save the day.
However, even with the estimated £180 million outlay, Chelsea’s squad looks thin, especially with the added demands of Champions League football this season.
They lack cover in the striker, wing-back and centre-back positions, while they have sold around £170m of fringe, loan and youth players in the past six months.
A series of rejections in the past 48 hours of the transfer window has raised questions of how the club allowed themselves to be manipulated and played.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t want to play at wing-back and chose to go to Liverpool despite Chelsea agreeing a £35 million fee with Arsenal for him. After that, Fernando Llorente chose Tottenham over Chelsea despite months of the Blues tracking the former Swansea frontman.
Ross Barkley ended up wasting Chelsea’s time as they negotiated a deal for an injured player, only for it to fall through. Rewind to July and Romelu Lukaku chose Old Trafford ahead of a return to Stamford Bridge.
Interest in Juventus’ Alex Sandro was quickly blocked as Leonardo Bonucci was sold to AC Milan and the Serie A champions had to avoid outrage of their own over player sales.
Manchester City outbid Chelsea for Real Madrid’s Danilo, which highlights how the club is becoming more focused on profitability. They are no longer willing or able to blow rivals away as they did in the early Roman Abramovich years.
While Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool have pushed themselves to move forwards in the transfer market. Chelsea, meanwhile, have stood still.
Conte has called for patience and already warned that this season could be difficult. He has moved to rein in expectations as he recognises that his squad may lack both depth and quality to fight to win the Champions League this year.