Deja vu for Chelsea in the transfer marketby Andy Dillon / 07 July 2017, 09:02Tweet
SAME PROBLEM, different faces.
The most startling aspect of Chelsea’s predicament at present is the overriding sense of deja vu.
Even if deals for Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko are rubber stamped this weekend it will not hide the humiliation of missing out on Romelu Lukaku.
To see the Everton striker undergoing a medical with Manchester United in the US while the UK slept overnight on Thursday brings Chelsea’s problems into painfully sharp focus.
Manager Antonio Conte should be celebrating a Premier League title triumph in May by hoovering up all the best players and reminding the world that Chelsea are back after a year or so in the doldrums.
But the frustration that Conte is experiencing now is precisely the same as that which his predecessor Jose Mourinho endured two summers ago.
It only adds to the irony that Mourinho is now in charge at Man Utd and has just mugged his old club for one of the most sought after strikers in England.
For Lukaku read John Stones.
Chelsea’s botched and bitterly-contested tug of war with Everton in 2015 ended in abject failure and a clear rift between the two clubs which patently still exists up on Merseyside.
Stones ended up at Manchester City a year later just as Lukaku is heading to Manchester only even sooner.
On transfer deadline day in 2015 Chelsea stunned the world by signing Reading defender Michael Hector on loan and it’s highly likely he still hasn’t been to Stamford Bridge since.
Papy Djilobodji became synonymous with the embarrassing summer spending. The Senegalese defender played only one minute - the 90th - of a league cup tie at Walsall before being ditched at the end of the season.
Chelsea ended up with very little from their attempts to build on the title win of 2015 and as early as August the wheels were coming off.
After losing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace on the 29th Mourinho lamented how he had submitted a list of targets to his superiors at Stamford Bridge and not one of them had been delivered.
It’s all starting to sound a bit freaky isn’t it?
Conte is now back from holiday in Sardinia and will probably be meeting with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich over the weekend.
I’d pay money to be a fly on the wall there. It’s two years since Chelsea missed out on John Stones but they just don’t seem to have learned any lessons.
The players report back for pre-season training on Monday in what was scheduled to be the coming together of the English champions with some famous new faces and starting to lay the plans for a title defence and as assault on the Champions League.
Instead it’s going to be all about trying to put a brave face on things and Conte having to get quite tough with his bosses that they need to start getting players on board.
Otherwise we could well end up with another season like 2015-16 when the team was not up to it and the manager grew steadily further and further apart from the people at the top - and that only ends one way.