EPL

Billion-pound breakthrough should come as no surprise – Mauricio Pochettino

By Sports Desk September 01, 2023

Mauricio Pochettino said football’s stakeholders should not be hypocritical in their judgement of Chelsea after the club’s spending surpassed £1billion under the ownership of Todd Boehly.

The £40million signing of Cole Palmer from Manchester City on Friday pushed total outlay during the last 16 months into 10 figures, with more than £400m having been spent on 12 players in the summer window alone.

That has in part been offset by player sales for significant fees earlier in the window with 14 first-team departures since the end of the last season, most notably midfielders Kai Havertz and Mason Mount who left for a combined £120m.

It was also confirmed on Friday that 20-year-old striker Mason Burstow has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan while Callum Hudson-Odoi has signed for Nottingham Forest, ending a 16-year association with the club.

Chelsea host Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday looking to make it three wins in a row after victories against Luton in the Premier League and AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup.

The manager has previously said that anything less than Champions League qualification in his first season will be deemed a failure following the owners’ mammoth transfer outlay which has seen them break the British transfer record twice in 2023.

And with Boehly still relatively inexperienced in European football, Pochettino was at pains to emphasise his responsibility to help guide and advise his employer.

“You can talk about being very surprised about (the billion-pound landmark), or not,” said Pochettino. “It depends. Today football is… we need to evolve. Today it’s different. Completely different. We manage a different type of numbers.

“If 20 years ago we had thought this was going to happen, maybe no one would believe it. But today, it’s normal in football, this type of money moving around.

“It’s a big business, football. And we cannot stop. I think we all get the benefit here, no? I think we cannot be hypocrites. To be involved in football in different areas, you (the press) there or me here. We are living all (what) that business produces.

“I’m not going to be here to give lessons to anyone, but I think football is about getting a good balance. For me, yes Chelsea is spending money. But also it’s selling players. Money in and money out.

“In that case, people arrive in a club in the Premier League like our owners, it’s normal. They want to settle and develop their project, and we are people that are going to help them to be right in their decisions, because we are professionals of football.

“We are giving our vision and advice, and of course after (that) it’s up to them. That is a very special situation that happened from the beginning.”

Pochettino will have Mykhailo Mudryk available for selection after the winger missed last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Luton.

The Ukraine international, who signed for £88m from Shakhtar Donetsk in January but is yet to score or consistently show the kind of form that persuaded Chelsea to bring him to west London, has played just 54 minutes this season and is yet to start a game under Pochettino.

“He’s a very talented player,” said the manager. “He needs to first of all, before talking about football, he needs to feel comfortable, feel really strong in his body. He suffered (during) the (under-21) Euros, he only played one game (because) he was suffering from some injury.

“When I arrived here was never consistent in training, always something happened. Now we are focused and trying to help me to be really strong, healthy and feel good to start to perform.

“No one can perform if they do not feel strong and really confident in your body. It’s time we need to build his confidence. We are working. I hope in the next few weeks he starts to find his best form to start to help the team.”

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