The Todd Boehly era is underway at Chelsea. With Roman Abramovic and Bruce Buck both departing the club they took over in 2003, things will be looking very different at Stamford Bridge next season, and as successful as the Russian’s tenure was in west London, with a plethora of trophies including five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues, change is inevitable in football.
You got the sense that despite Chelsea’s success with their managerial merry-go-round, a ruthless approach to immediate success, that it wasn’t sustainable. Thomas Tuchel has been in charge since January 2021 and looks to be the man to usher in a new era in the Stamford Bridge dugout. Longevity will be essential during this new dawn, and having already lost Antonio Rüdiger to Real Madrid on a free, the imminent departures of Andreas Christensen who announced he will be leaving as well as captain César Azpilicueta, it will be a new look Chelsea come the opening day away at Everton, which the Premier League odds still favour them to win in.
Despite such defensive fragility, the club continue to be linked with attacking talent. Raphinha seems a sensible acquisition from Leeds United, joining Chrisitain Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech in wide areas. But the Blues could also make a move for Raheem Sterling, who seems destined for a move away from Manchester City. The winger, who has been at the club since breaking the British transfer record for a teenager at Liverpool in 2015, has seen game time gradually reduced under Pep Guardiola. Once a key cog in his swashbuckling winning machine, the arrivals of Julián Álvarez and Erling Haaland have all but sealed his desire to move on from the North West after seven seasons.
Indeed, Sterling’s best years in a City shirt came in the 17-18 season, where he formed a formidable partnership with Leroy Sané and Sergio Agüero, with the trio combining for over 40 goals and cruised to the title with 100 points. Dubbed ‘The Centurions,’ Sterling epitomised everything that Guardiola asks for in a winger, but his dip in form has coincided with Agüero’s departure, and City not replacing the Argentite last season with a recognised striker meant the wingers had to contribute more in the final third.
While Sterling struggled last term, he still has plenty to offer. The England international still managed 17 goals, predominantly from the left-hand side, but found himself on the bench more often than not towards the business end of the season. You would imagine at Chelsea that he cements himself in Tuchel’s starting 11 from the off, with great versatility across the front three as well as an attacking midfielder — a position he played briefly for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and during some international qualifiers for England.
Chelsea would be buying Sterling at the peak of his powers. At 27, he has vast experience in the English game and knows what it takes to win league titles. He’ll all but guarantee double figures in terms of goals and assists and won’t require much integration having grown up in London and spent time at Queens Park Rangers’ academy.
The only issue with the deal could be agreeing a fee. Chelsea are hardly the financial juggernaut they were under Abramovic despite Boehly’s intention to spend, but with Sterling’s contract expiring next summer, City might want to cash in on an expendable asset before losing him for free in 12 months’ time.
Chelsea will want to avoid the trap of overpaying for players, and given Tuchel’s lukewarm track record in the transfer market, it will be interesting to see if a move for Sterling comes to fruition.