Chelsea transfer business is about to be revolutionised by one man: and it could take the Blues back to the top
Chelsea have a reputation for being big spenders – but they might have just found a better strategy to get back to the top
Chelsea spend big on huge-name players. That's what we all know of the Blues, right?
Last summer, the European champions bolstered an already unbelievable squad stacked with some of the finest talent in the Premier League with a new nine-figure acquisition. Romelu Lukaku hasn't quite fired on all cylinders for Chelsea but the intention is always there to spend heavy: previous record signing Kai Havertz – £72m – won the club their second Champions League.
It's been this way ever since Roman Abramovich first moored his super-yacht on the Thames. But with the Russian oligarch now sanctioned and Stamford Bridge set to welcome new owners, plenty is set to change – not least in recruitment.
How are Chelsea going to revolutionise their recruitment?
It's down to the last four in the race to own Chelsea Football Club. The Ricketts family, plus groups headed by Todd Boehly, Stephen Pagliuca and Sir Martin Broughton are the quartet vying to buy the Blues.
According to the Athletic (opens in new tab), two of the four have identified Paul Mitchell as a potential technical director to take over at the Bridge, should their bids win. Mitchell was a player at Wigan and MK Dons, among others. But it's when he retired that things really became interesting.
The ex-Dons star stepped into a role as the Bucks side's Head of Recruitment and was notable at the time for bringing former Leeds and Manchester United star Alan Smith to the club before joining Southampton and heading their transfer strategy. Everything that followed was in Mitchell's image, with the Saints gaining promotion and having a hugely impressive time in the Premier League with Mauricio Pochettino.
Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Wanyama and Jay Rodriguez all joined under his watch before he left for Tottenham, taking Dele Alli, Son Heung-min, Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld to White Hart Lane. He worked at RB Leipzig and was highly thought of there before joining Monaco and signing the highly-rated Myron Boadu, Vanderson and Alexander Nubel.
How would Chelsea change under Paul Mitchell?
It's hard to imagine a club that Mitchell is running having as many misses in the transfer market as the Blues have managed. Just look at the players that arrived in west London for over £50m and you'll see names like Kepa Arrizabalaga, Alvaro Morata and Fernando Torres.
It's not a certainty that Chelsea will be able to flex the same kind of financial muscle anymore. Under new ownership, the European champions may well have to become more frugal – and that would mean a few more bargain buys like the ones that Tottenham had with Mitchell at the helm.
And let's not forget the resources already installed at the club. Chelsea have an unbelievable academy and have managed to source some of the biggest stars in the world, only for them to slip through the net: see Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah. The hope with Mitchell is that by having someone so talent-savvy at the helm, Chelsea would be able to avoid those mistakes and promote the very best from Cobham.
While times are uncertain at the Bridge, Paul Mitchell could actually elevate the club in the transfer market. Could Chelsea be about to become even better under a new owner?
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.