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Barcelona makes a huge Todd Boehly claim after £100m Chelsea swoop frustrates Thomas Tuchel.

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Barcelona makes a huge Todd Boehly claim after £100m Chelsea swoop frustrates Thomas Tuchel.
As Thomas Tuchel watched on, seeing Raheem Sterling score his first goal for Chelsea and Kalidou Koulibaly command proceedings from the back, he must have been a happy man with the business done in the transfer window so far.

What has been done has been very good work, £85m spent to accrue two world class operators in key areas of the field, adding quality and experience. That doesn’t get rid of the scars left from the other dealings that have not only wasted Todd Boehly’s time, ultimately, but also left Tuchel frustrated throughout the window.

It has largely been the dealings with Barcelona, for who, had they not been there the Blues might have added at least an extra two players to their squad and been left a lot happier. As it stands though, the Spanish team have effectively beaten Chelsea to six players in varying degrees, this has made it a big learning curve in rapid time for Boehly’s involvement as interim sporting director.

The American has been extremely outward going as co-owner already and his decision to dive into the European football market has been noble and much needed. Had he not, Chelsea could have been much slower this summer and been left stumbling around without any business over the line at all.

There has been a feeling that perhaps Marina Granovskaia wouldn’t have put up with the tos-and-froes this window though. It may be an unfair comparison due to the former director’s prestige in world football when she left her role at Stamford Bridge last month, but it is a lesson for Boehly.

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He has received a host of positive comments from those who he has negotiated with, but the cut-throat world is still out there, he knows it, and Chelsea will need to be wily for the rest of the summer to get action done quickly, and there may still be more interaction with Barcelona.

In an interview with CBS, the Catalan’s director Joan Laporta admitted that Boehly had made a favourable impression on him. “We had a very nice dinner in Barcelona and we talked in general about football. He is a very successful businessman. He is involved in sport with the Lakers and Dodgers and now with Chelsea. He looks like a man who knows what he wants to do and it was a very nice dinner,” he said.

“We have a good relationship and we respect our opponents. Chelsea’s [minority] owner Todd Boehly is an extraordinary person. We have had this necessity to be active in the transfer market in order to improve our squad. And it just so happens that some of the players they wanted, we did also. Those players wanted to come to Barcelona because they believe in our project, our history, our style of playing and our coach. Xavi is important.”

As the Blues put their anger and frustration at the Jules Kounde saga behind them, they could be in talks with their common enemy this summer one again. Frenkie de Jong’s alarming contract situation has alerted clubs across Europe and he is now the centre of immense speculation with both Manchester United and Chelsea keen to secure him.

The 25-year-old has a contract until 2026 but due to Barcelona’s tight financial spot, the club are working on a wage reduction that could be as much as 40%, leaving him in limbo. With Chelsea closely monitoring the player, much like they did with Ousmane Dembele, Laporta issued a staunch warning. “The first thing to say is we want Frenkie to stay at Barcelona. We love the player and him as a human being. I want him to stay at Barcelona. He’s a high-quality player and a good guy. I also know that he wants to stay,” he said.

“All we are doing with Frenkie is the same as the rest of the squad. The signings coming in have adjusted their salary to the new structure. But Frenkie has a contract and we respect that. We can’t force him to take a pay cut. It’s his decision

“We are trying to manage the football club in a prudent and sustainable way. So we have to have these talks and we do so in a calm and considered way. We have explained the situation and are grateful to any players who can help us. It was the same with Dembele and I am very grateful to him. And after months of talks, he accepted a renegotiation of his salary and he can be proud of his decision.

“Then he will continue. Has has a contract. We will respect that decision. For us, he’s a Barcelona player. We count on him. In football, you never know. I can’t say categorically [that he won’t leave to join Manchester United]. It all depends on the different parties. But in principle, I can say there is a strong possibility he stays, and I can say as president I will do my best for him to stay at Barcelona.

“There is no extortion being used on Frenkie or anyone else. I respect his opinion, but if talks between two parties counts as extortion then I think this guy is wrong.”

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