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Todd Boehly bold £168m Chelsea transfer stance as begin to resolve Marina Granovskaia error


Todd Boehly bold £168m Chelsea transfer stance as begin to resolve Marina Granovskaia error

If you would have said at the start of the window that both of Chelsea’s two most expensive signings would be loaned out to Italy, it may have seemed plausible but still a tough obstacle to achieve.

The fact both going on loan would even be in the realm of possibility reflects how badly some of Chelsea’s biggest transfer business has fared across the last five years.

Romelu Lukaku (£97m) and Kepa Arrizabalaga (£71m) cost the club £168m based on their reported fee. Adding their high wages makes their failure to become transfer wins even more painful.

Lukaku’s loan back to Inter Milan was sealed before pre-season properly got going, or Chelsea had secured their first summer signing. Kepa is in talks with Napoli over a loan of his own to Serie A for the upcoming campaign with hopes an agreement can be reached within days.

Neither of these loans can fully wash away the embarrassment of the past or the work that still needs to be done in the future.

Lukaku could still return, even though a second loan could follow this one if things go according to plan. And there still needs to be clarity over whether a buy option will be included with Napoli’s loan for Kepa.

But in getting both out on loan, Todd Boehly is symbolically starting to shed the major errors of the past regime led by Marina Granovskaia.

Before the former director’s exit, which led to Boehly taking up an interim sporting director role, it is believed both Granovskaia and Petr Cech held a different view on the Lukaku situation.

And Chelsea fans have seen how unhappy superstars had been allowed to loom over pre-season preparations, something Thomas Tuchel nor Boehly could afford to happen with Lukaku.

In the case of Kepa, his imminent exit feels a lot more amicable given the player’s obvious need for regular minutes and his ability to pick up some nice memories since the low point of the 2019/20 season when the record-breaking price tag for a goalkeeper appeared to weigh him down.

However, his transfer cannot be viewed as anything other than a blunder, given the amount originally paid in 2018 and how quickly he became the second choice once Edouard Mendy arrived from Rennes for a significantly lower fee.

Outgoings were always going to be as key as any incoming this summer for Boehly and Tuchel. Arguably the exits hold more of a cultural impact within the club for what they represent and say about the new regime.

More should follow beyond Kepa and Lukaku, with a host of senior names still with question marks looming over their heads before deadline day. Getting those calls right can further speed up a challenging transition after a seismic change.

Kepa and Lukaku might only be loan moves initially, but they quickly indicate a desire to start rectifying high-profile mistakes whilst beginning to shape a new Chelsea squad which can hopefully avoid situations like this in the upcoming years.


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