Chelsea have three key transfer decision makers for January window and it's not Todd Boehly


Along with changing everything about the club in the past 12 months or so, Todd Boehly has provided Mauricio Pochettino with a structure that allows him to take control from top to bottom. It was the plan that started on fast-forward under Graham Potter last year but was quickly too much for him to handle.

Too much change too quickly and the unrest was too catastrophic to recover from. Now, under a manager like Pochettino who has had his best success when given the freedom of a club, things looks much more comfortable. Pochettino, like Potter was but at odds to Thomas Tuchel, is happy to work closely with those above him, having consistent conversations with the big decision makers.

Tuchel was less pleased about having to confer during pre-season last year, preferring to manage the team itself but then complaining about a lack of transfers whilst also kicking up a fuss about being involved in recruitment at the same time. Potter was more akin to working in a cohesive club environment but the foundations around him were new and unsettled.

Pochettino is now the man working at Cobham and trying to fit this all together with his own style. On the pitch, it has shown signs of coming along nicely at times but nobody is fooled in thinking that it is the final form. So with just over six weeks until the January transfer window opens, it is only natural to look ahead to what might be done.

The Blues have spent over £300million in each of the windows under Boehly-Clearlake Capital but it would remarkable if they came anywhere near that this winter. Realistically at this stage the only position that looks in need of immediate additions is striker.

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher continue to push for a new goalkeeper and centre-back but with Djorde Petrovic yet to make his debut and a handful of defenders coming back or out injured it's not as pressing as the goalscoring problems. Christopher Nkunku might solve that but it would be remiss to suggest that even with him, Nicolas Jackson and Armando Broja there is much certainty of success.

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Luckily for Pochettino, he is talking with the club about targets and has been for a while. "The good thing is the relationship and communication is very good with the sporting directors and owners," he said as early as September.

“When the transfer window was closed I said I need to be more involved now in all the decisions. I have started to work to identify what we need for January.

“I think football is very dynamic and it is about the present always, things can change until January. Now, we need to work to recover [Christopher] Nkunku and Armando Broja to try to provide the team with more goals and become solid.

“Also, parallel to identifying or finding profiles to improve the team, the way we want to assess the team during the competition. But, of course, we have already started to work.”

It was an open statement at the time but little has changed since to really think that anything will be different in January. Pochettino will still be involved in the talks over who is signed and what is being targetted and even though there remains a state of flux and adaption in the recruitment department.

Alongside Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, the two co-sporting directors and chiefs in this scenario, the Argentine will be working to ensure that plans are finalised and met. They are two of the key bodies involved and have shown their ability to do some impressive work, getting Moises Caicedo across the line.

Perhaps the unsung hero of the whole system is Joe Shields, though. The former Southampton and Manchester City youth scout and recruitment guru has already been vital to some of the biggest deals made by Chelsea this year. It was he that turned Romeo Lavia towards west London rather than Liverpool, using his personal and professional connections to get a deal across the line.

The main one at this stage is Cole Palmer though. Shields was part of the City youth set-up when Palmer was coming through in Manchester and once more dug into his contacts book to help Chelsea to what looks like one of the deals of the summer. Palmer already has four goals and five assists to his name having arrived on deadline day and has intergrated brilliantly with the team around him.

Shields, who was central to this deal and is one of the hottest spotters and judgers of youth talent out there, will undoubtedly be in place again to aid negotiations and meetings at the club over January. Outside of that and Boehly himself will have a role to play, though it is Clearlake co-founder Behdad Eghbali that is the more influential of the two despite the wider narrative.

Eghbali himself has been involved in talks for some of the most important transfers in 2023 and is often spotted at the club's training ground as well. He will have a ramped up role for the January window and forms the top of the food chain and channel of communication in what is a fully formed but still relatively new recruitment team tasked with turning Pochettino's squad from promising underperformers into efficient top four challengers. Chelsea WhatsApp channel

Chelsea flag prior the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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