In the summer of 2009, Chelsea and Roman Abramovich faced one of the most challenging football dilemma. The financial powerplay of Manchester City’s then new owners, the Abu Dhabi Group was holding clubs by the scruff of their necks. After gazumping neighbours, Manchester United to the signing of Carlos Tevez, their next business agenda was to sign Chelsea’s best and most influential player, John Terry. City’s three bids, and the last which was a then ceiling-breaking £35m transfer fee with the incentive to pay the defender a staggering weekly wage of about £200,000 was tempting and scary for both the John Terry camp and Chelsea respectively. Decisively, Terry committed to Chelsea but on an improved deal after much hullabaloo, and the City blues was kept mute.
The club’s decision to commit Terry to a new deal was a no-brainer. It was sensible as if we had sold him, the Roman Chelsea empire could have crumbled. Selling our best players make us vulnerable as a club. It questions our ambition to be the best. How did the John Terry saga come about? Why did City bid for him? I’ll give you hints:
“Just minutes after lifting the FA Cup trophy in 2009 under Guus Hiddink, as he stood by the tunnel area, John Terry gave a remarkable interview calling on the club to sign big name players (referring to the likes of David Villa and Franck Ribery) and also pointing out that he hoped the appointment of incoming manager, Carlo Ancelotti would bring stability to the club”.
Manchester City sensed two things: the first being that John Terry needed an ambitious club ready to flex their financial muscle and, the second being that he wants a club that exudes stability. Smartly, both logical reasoning gave them the will to capitalise and make an effort to sign and give him what he desired.
Players are humans and are moved by what happens around them. They want a stable club where they can feel important, win trophies and compete with the best players in their team against the best teams. Chelsea’s transfer business in recent years has been questionable, and managerial stability at the club is a real issue. We no longer sign the best, but sign potential best. This is more like a gamble because if these players don’t fulfill their potentials, then it’s bad business for the club. In reality, the better the players we have, the better our chances of success.
I certainly feel this might just be the thoughts in the head of our superstar players: Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, with the futures of both players not yet sorted out and subject of constant media speculations. Both are weighing their chances of winning silverware at the club, the managerial upheaval of Antonio Conte, and the ambition of the club with regards to transfer signings. On this note, Chelsea need to reassure their stars that the club’s ambition is not on the wane. Also, the club must take this advice by Arsene Wenger which reads: ‘Big clubs don’t sell their stars’
Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!