Thomas Tuchel has been sacked. The man that won the European Cup and kept the show on the road throughout the uncertainty and torment of sanctions has been shown the door.
It is an incredibly short-sighted and precipitous move. Tuchel acted with honour and intelligence during his time at Chelsea and his leadership ensured the wheels didn’t come off in February when sanctions almost stopped the club from functioning.
Under those pressures he secured the Club World Cup and got us to within a whisker and a couple of dodgy refereeing decisions of beating eventual winners in the Champions League.
Thomas Tuchel was more to this club than just a manager.
He arrived in January 2021. Having expressed doubts about taking over a side without having a pre-season with the squad, he agreed to replace Frank Lampard. Rumour was that Ralf Rangnick had been lined up as interim boss, he joined Manchester United instead and we all saw how well that arrangement worked.
Tuchel’s first game was a 0-0 with Wolves but he quickly adapted the squad to his system and beat Manchester City 1-0 to reach an FA Cup final in his first season and then beat them, 1-0 again, to lift the European Cup.
The pre-season last term was not a happy one for Tuchel but he bit his lip. The plan was to bring Erling Haaland from Dortmund as the final piece of the jigsaw that would see us challenge for the title domestically and continue to be a force in Europe.
What happened instead was that a generation of talented youngsters were sold off to facilitate not the signing of the Norwegian wunderkind but the return of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian didn’t gel with the squad and expressed homesickness in an Italian radio interview just after just four months back in London.
We owe so much to Thomas Tuchel it is nearly impossible to express. He was a rock during covid and sanctions. He won us trophies, got to finals and had us top of the league before Christmas last term when injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James robbed his team of width just as covid absences meant we played half a dozen games with a depleted squad and then sanctions. And still we qualified for the Champions League.
This summer has been chaotic. The Boehly-Clearlake group sacked everyone who had experience running a football club and dealing with transfer negotiations. Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia, Petr Cech and, just this week, the head of international scouting, Scott McLachlan.
A consortium that had no experience of transfer talks, the market or the sport then leaned heavily on Tuchel’s knowledge and experience. The effects of sanctions were still being felt at we lost two of our most important players in Rüdiger and Christensen to free transfers. The delays and mistakes made by Todd Boehly over the summer as, at first, no business appeared to be happening and then targets slipped through our fingers, meant we started pre-season in the States without any defensive recruits. Koulibaly did fly out to join the group but dithering over Jules Koundé meant we lost him to Barcelona and the Wesley Fofana saga dragged on so long he has been training with Leicester’s U21 instead of a proper pre-season under Tuchel.
All the while Tuchel was standing up for the new owners. Gary Neville described Chelsea’s transfer activity as panic-buying, Tuchel said “Panicking? No, I would describe it as super hard working and learning while on the job.”
The recruitment we did manage brought new faces to the club but with all the departures the squad is actually smaller than last season and Tuchel has been given precisely one game to integrate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. A striker so temperamental it was felt he could only operate effectively under one coach – Thomas Tuchel.
Thomas had an open and communicative nature. We all learned so much from listening to his analysis and sympathise with his plight. It seems Todd is flexing his new muscles in charge of Chelsea possibly without any real understanding of the club or the sport. He seems to have asked someone what Roman would have done instead of asking what he should do.
Thomas Tuchel was in charge 100 games in charge saw 49 clean-sheets and a 60% win ratio.
The lack of gratitude is staggering. It is a dreadful mistake to rob Tuchel of the chance to build a dynasty at Stamford Bridge. Other managers might well come in and do well. Under Tuchel we could have been dominant.
Graham Potter has been approached about replacing Tuchel. It is a big step from Brighton to Chelsea and the guy’s head is probably spinning because he was sitting in the middle of their official team photo only this morning.
Chelsea have clearly agreed to pay whatever Brighton have asked and negotiations are expected to be swift. Potter is widely respected but has no experience in Europe. On the plus side he turned down the chance to talk to Tottenham about the vacancy there last season.