Thomas Tuchel’s time was up – but Chelsea’s new owners have serious questions to answer

Chelsea have been pretty rubbish this year, with Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb particularly painful to watch, but did anyone see this coming?

In a move which bears a striking similarity to the old regime, Thomas Tuchel has been relieved of his duties as Chelsea manager after a string of poor results.

You can take the owner out of Chelsea but you can’t take the Chelsea out of the owner.

2022 has been a rollercoaster of a year for Tuchel, who started the calendar as a European champion, transitioned to a warrior for social justice, then became a transfer guru and now finds himself in the unemployment line, all in nine months.

On the pitch, it feels like this departure was coming. Results had gone downhill but it’s the nature of the performances that were most concerning. Chelsea had lost their stability at the back and had given up all semblance of goalscoring ability. It’s been a real slog-fest for a good few weeks now, with Chelsea largely getting by purely because their players are generally better than most.

Tuchel’s tactics left a lot to be desired, but the issues ran deeper behind the scenes. Sources close to the Chelsea squad have told 90min of the significant disconnect between Tuchel and the attackers in the team, many of whom felt their confidence was drained by the boss and believed they were being hung out to dry without any support. Bonds were broken beyond repair.

It had all the ingredients of an ugly divorce, but the thing is, it has looked that way for a while. The signs were there towards the end of last season, even before Todd Boehly took control of the team from Roman Abramovich.

Boehly, in a step fans have been crying out for for years, chose to give Tuchel more say in the club’s transfer business. He clearly didn’t care about the issues, or perhaps believed that the German would be able to turn things around.

Not only did he have that misguided faith, but he committed to it to the tune of nearly £300m. With Tuchel as the direct focus of his transfer business, Boehly oversaw the most expensive transfer window in the history of football, only to sack the recipient of that six days later once the window had closed.

Boehly built the squad Tuchel wanted, bringing in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the specific request of the boss and recruiting Wesley Fofana, who admitted he came to Chelsea largely because of Tuchel.

How is it possible that the new Chelsea regime could sink £300m into Tuchel’s vision while simultaneously being so unconvinced that victory over West Ham and a 1-0 defeat in Zagreb would be enough to send him packing?

The chance to sack Tuchel at the start of the new era was there, and while it may have come as a shock, plenty of fans would have understood. Boehly declined that chance, took a £300m gamble and is now paying the price.

If Boehly wanted Tuchel out, he should have pulled the trigger months ago. The £300m spent on Tuchel’s squad could have been given to a new manager, but now any new boss will face the familiar challenge of trying to fit the square pegs of the current squad into the round holes of their new system.

It’s the timing of the decision, more than the choice itself, which raises questions. Boehly is right to demand the best from his manager, but to give Tuchel less than a week with his shiny new £300m squad is ludicrous.

It sends a message that the new Chelsea regime are prepared to operate like their predecessors – spend first and ask questions later.

That can’t be allowed to happen anymore. Chelsea fans are tired of the hired goons approach to management choices. They want a Jurgen Klopp, a Pep Guardiola – somebody who is given the time and the input to build their perfect squad. Look at the top of the Premier League table over the past few years and you’ll see why.

This next decision has to be the right one.

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