Souness explains first Chelsea ‘alarm bells’ over Boehly as owner

Chelsea fans react to Thomas Tuchel sacking

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Graeme Souness has admitted he felt ‘alarm bells’ ringing at Chelsea when Todd Boehly axed the likes of Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech and essentially made himself a sporting director. The American only purchased the Blues from Roman Abramovich earlier in the year. But he’s already laid down the law at Stamford Bridge, sacking Thomas Tuchel after the German had overseen a difficult start to the new season.

Chelsea confirmed the departure of Tuchel yesterday, with the German losing his job less than 24 hours after a difficult Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

It is a decision that has raised eyebrows, especially given how the 49-year-old steered them to Champions League glory just last year.

Now, Souness has criticised Boehly for being so trigger-happy – insisting he felt ‘alarm bells’ when the American axed the likes of Buck, Granovskaia and Cech.

Writing for the Daily Mail, he said: “The dismissal of Thomas Tuchel doesn’t surprise me because it’s so typical of the way Todd Boehly has decided to run Chelsea.

“Boehly is a very wealthy man who is entrepreneurial and who I’m sure has made money in many different areas.

“A man who has looked at football and thought, ‘this is a business which is straightforward and simple — and because I’m so smart in so many other aspects of life, I can handle this’.

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“So he personally supervises the spending of almost £300million, wonders why it’s not working and, as always, the victim is the manager.

“For me, the alarm bells were ringing from the minute Boehly announced he was appointing himself Chelsea’s interim sporting director.

“As I said in these pages on Saturday, Boehly decided that he did not need three people at the club who had been so successful at running it — Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech.

“Whether he got rid of them or they left of their own volition, at that point he has to surround himself with football people.

“It will clearly take some time for Boehly to discover that it’s not as simple as he thought, that recruitment is not just about spending large amounts of money and that recruitment is also the most important part of running a football club.”

Chelsea spent big this summer in the hope they’d be able to challenge for the Premier League title.

But they’re already five points behind top of the table Arsenal with just six matches played.

And Souness has hit out at their decision to spend big on Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana in particular.

“At the risk of sounding boring, try getting Sir Alex Ferguson out of retirement, send him to the LA Dodgers and ask him to put a valuation on baseball players playing at other clubs, with a view to building a team,” he continued.

“He wouldn’t know where to begin.

“Boehly has laid the blame for Chelsea’s poor start to the season at Tuchel’s door but he is the one to blame for some very questionable signings, paying way over the odds for Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana.

“Chelsea never operated the English business model of football management under Roman Abramovich.

“He sacked 14 managers — some, such as Roberto Di Matteo, who had just won trophies: the biggest one of them all, the Champions League, along with the FA Cup in 2012.

“But that hire-and-fire regime was successful because Abramovich eventually brought people who knew the football business and understood the importance of recruitment.

“That’s a large part of why they were so successful.”

Chelsea are now expected to hire Graham Potter as their next boss, with the Brighton manager verbally agreeing to take over in west London.

Yet Souness thinks the 47-year-old must take time to consider whether the Blues are the right club for him.

“Boehly joins a long list of wealthy people who have laboured under the delusion that they can come into our football business and be an instant success,” he stated.

“Like Ellis Short. Like Mel Morris. Like Farhad Moshiri. They never got it.

“This is what Graham Potter must now weigh up, as he holds talks about becoming Tuchel’s successor.

“Potter has done a fabulous job at Brighton. But to go from managing the players he’s got at Brighton to managing the players in that Chelsea dressing room, at this time, will be very, very different for him.”

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