who was going to tell Roman Abramovich, who in February conquered the only title that was missing in his showcases, the Club World Cup, that two months later his team was going to be one of the most unstable on the planet. That the champion of Europe and the world was going to live in constant tension, with hardly any money coming in, pending the concessions of the Government and with the players putting their shoulder to avoid an even greater ruin.
It was Kai Havertz who warned before playing against Lille that if he had to pay for the team to travelI would. Thomas Tuchel offered to drive the bus. “No problem,” said the German. It sounded like a joke, surrealism, but a month later, César Azpilicueta, the captain, pays part of the gasoline for the trips.
The English club, which faces Real Madrid on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, has its assets frozen. Money only enters for television rights and this goes to a fund destined to pay salaries. A payroll that, between players and workers, exceeds 30 million euros per month. For this reason, with each day that passes with the club without selling, the concerns increase.
The Government has given them a little more air. It has allowed them to spend up to £900,000 on games at Stamford Bridge and it opens the door for them to sell tickets for away games, and the Champions League, FA Cup and women’s games. Not so for the Premier, an inconsistent decision for fans. However, they will not collect anything for those tickets. The money will go to the Premier, the FA or UEFA and will stay there until the institutional situation is resolved.
There is still no definitive date for the sale, although it is expected that between April 11 and 18 there will be a definite and favorite candidate and the operation will close by the end of April. A successor to Abramovich will come out of the list of four that exists right now.
There is the owner of the Boston Celtics, Stephen Pagliuca, the consortium led by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Martin Broughton, former president of British Airways and Liverpool, and the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, and the most controversial of all
So much so that a bigger mess can still be made if they are the chosen ones. The situation escalated because emails were discovered in which Joe Ricketts, the family patriarch, insulted Muslims and branded them “the enemy.”
This did not please part of the fans, including to the official Chelsea fan group, and the criticism has reached the point of producing a demonstration in the outskirts of Stamford Bridge last Saturday, before the match against Brentford.
There were pro-Abramovich chants and anti-Ricketts signs, but not a large turnout. Less than a hundred people gathered at the “Blue” temple. Perhaps not enough to stop the Ricketts’ candidacy, which aims to be the preferred option of the Raine group, those chosen by Abramovich to decide the sale of Chelsea.
Until the match against Brentford, the instability only resided in the offices, where the capacity for action is limited and players cannot even be renewed. Not even Azpilicueta has it all with himself as to whether he is renewed or not. But it is that the Brentford win, which made them four goals in one part, has also opened the wound on the pitch. Now it’s up to Real Madrid to delve into it or see how Chelsea once again draws strength from weakness and to be the team that beat them in the semifinals last year.