Chelsea has changed a lot since Jose Mourinho’s last spell as manager in west London.
The Blues have added one more Premier League title, three FA Cups, one Community Shield, a Europa League and a UEFA Champions League to the trophy cabinet.
So, what more does Roman Abramovich want? Many pundits have time and again claimed that he wants Chelsea to thrash opponents just like old times when Mourinho was at helm, but with panache and flair.
While that theory does hold some water, given Chelsea’s recent squad transformation, I think it overlooks one major investment that Abramovich made upon his arrival in London – Cobham.
The state-of-the-art training complex in Surrey signifies the amount of belief and devotion Abramovich had in his project. Not only does Abramovich want Chelsea to play beautiful, eye-catching football, he wants it to be played by home-grown talent and create an era of exciting and sustainable footballing legacy.
The Russian oligarch has overseen a transformation of a club that was almost on the verge of bankruptcy. By injecting capital close to £1 billion since his arrival 10 years ago, he has all the rights, both as an owner and a businessman, to expect dividends on and off the pitch.
Mourinho knows that he cannot simply bank on Abramovich’s chequebook. He must create the right balance within the club, where players understand that they are not bigger than the club and that meritocracy will be the only measuring scale used in team selections.
This will give the youth a greater incentive and motivation to break into the first team. Kevin De Bryune and Romelu Lukaku are two good examples. Despite their immense potential, they have been victims of lack of belief and first team action.
Mourinho has been given a task of taming the big egos in the dressing room and encouraging youth to shine. His ability as a motivator has never been in doubt. Let’s see if he can deliver and create a new Chelsea – a Chelsea where it is not all about the money.
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