This Frank Leboeuf exclusive was first published on Si & Dan Talk Chelsea.
It’s an exciting time at the club off the back of the January transfer window. I’ve spoken with Chelsea fans on Instagram and they are all very excited. Of course there are question marks when you have almost 40 players for one squad and know that only eleven can play. I know Graham Potter was wondering this week in the press conference how he can make everyone happy. It’s going to be a problem, as we have already seen with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. You can get fantastic players and pay millions for them, but at the end of the day it’s not only money that talks, it’s also what you do on the field.
The players who are not even involved in first team training anymore will suffer, Graham Potter cannot have 33-39 players during a training session. He can have 22-23 and that is more than enough to have a good training session. So you will have more than 10 players not involved even in training sessions. That’s not the life of football player. I am wondering for some of the players what is going to happen. I think Mason Mount is the future of the club because he belongs to the club, like John Terry, and he has to realise that of course there is pressure. I love the guy and I know he’s capable of giving much more than he does right now that’s why I’m very hard on him because he’s a fantastic player and he’s showed it to the world. But he has to wake up otherwise he is going to drown like so many of the other players.
This the is main problem that Potter is going to face. You have to find a good atmosphere in the dressing room and if players are not involved in match days or training sessions then that is going to be a real problem. Potter will have to clarify to some players what he is expects from them and what the plans are for them. It can create tensions. I worry about the young players from the academy. If you see in defence there are a lot of names there as well, but only two centre backs can play at once. We still have Kalidou Koulibaly, even though he hasn’t had a great season so far, but he was huge for Napoli, I don’t think he would accept to be on the bench for too long. But Benoit Badiashile should play, the guy is great. You have to give some hopes to Trevoh Chalobah as well otherwise he will ask to leave. You have to deal with everyone. So for me it’s best to make a list of the first squad you want and then the leftovers, if they’re players you don’t want, you have to be clear with them.
You have to find the chemistry on the pitch and that’s going to be the turning point. I’m interested to see how it will work with Enzo Fernandez coming in the middle of the park and how he can help. I’m sure he will help to make Chelsea better. Comparing him to Jorginho, who has been fantastic at times and I wish him the best at Arsenal, but what we want from Chelsea is the pace, the rhythm, someone who is more like Jude Bellingham and others to bring the ball forward, and not slow the game down. With all the players coming in there are players who are all capable of changing the rhythm and pace of the game. So I’m happy and I want to see it on the pitch and I’ll make a conclusion after that. I’m very interested and excited.
Enzo is a very good signing and I think he’s going to be very useful. He has the technique and has everything about his game; it’s why he became champion of the world and was the best player in the final and did fantastically with Argentina. My question mark is that he’s very young. Last year he cost around £10m and this season the price goes crazy, but that’s always the demand of the products. It’s more a business deal for the 8.5 year contract. For every player we’ve seen come in recently it’s long term contracts and we understand how Chelsea works with that. We’re all fans and I love Chelsea and I just want to see how it works on the pitch.
If Mateo Kovacic can come back to his best and N’Golo Kante can also come back to his best, I think we can have the best midfield in the world, that’s for sure. Kante is struggling with injuries. Kovacic was good before the World Cup but is also struggling right now. We don’t know how Enzo is going to settle down and we need to digest the pressure that he is going to have.
Don’t forget we saw players like Jack Grealish go for a big fee and has been struggling. Just because you pay £100m it doesn’t guarantee anything, because of the pressure. You have to accept the fight, but it can take some time for players to settle down. It’s been seen so many times in so many player.
I am excited about Mykhailo Mudryk because I followed him in Ukraine, and he’s definitely a very talented player. But again, it’s like Enzo, he is still a young player so you don’t know what to expect. Hopefully he stays fit and he will perform very well for us. I saw his cameo against Liverpool and some clips went viral. Let’s give him time to settle and to see what he can show. He became a star just signing for Chelsea and that’s what it is. Some people thought that Mudryk was the guy playing for Real Madrid!! Haha! He is a great player, a very young player, but full of quality. But allow me the next six months to tell you if he’s the player that Chelsea needed and if he is a very good signing. It’s impossible to make a statement yet.
The Hakim Ziyech situation was not a good situation. We know the character of Ziyech where if he’s not happy then you’re going to see it in his face and in his behaviour. He gives 100% love, but if he doesn’t feel that if you give the same love back to him, then he’s going to stop and start hating you. That’s how he is. I don’t know what happened with the forms but it’s an unbearable situation for the club and for Ziyech. It’s not fair to the player. I understand his feelings. I hope Chelsea find a way to please the player because again in the dressing room, it’s not going to be nice.
With all these new signings I do still unfortunately doubt that we can make top four this season. I think it is too late and we are too far away. Chelsea have won the most trophies in the two last decades, but I believe that this season is not a season where we can expect anything. I know that’s dramatic because of the money we have spent, and then missing out on making the UCL. We can still win the Champions League I guess, so there’s still that chance. But I really think that it’s an off-season for us, we’ve seen too many mistakes, too many players not fit enough, not tuned in enough, and not involved enough in the matter that we need these players involved. They need to give more than only the minimum. So for me, it would be a miracle if Chelsea made the top four this season. We will need the other teams to slow down and slip up in order for Chelsea to get into the top four.
The new club owners have been very busy and I want to be nice because I still want to be invited to Stamford Bridge haha! I don’t personally know Todd Boehly and the co-owners. It’s a business nowadays, we understand that and we have seen it many times with other club owners at PSG, Manchester United, and Newcastle etc, and even with Roman Abramovich. Money talks, it’s all about money. I think Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali want to learn the process of working in Europe with football, as it’s completely different than in America. I lived there and know how it works. It’s a big task that they have, they’ve put a lot of money into the club. Chelsea is a fantastic club, so you have to pay attention to what people say, especially people who love the club. Listen to former players who love the club and people around who love the club. I love Chelsea, it means everything to me and want us to be successful. So I can sometimes be hard and tough to the players and to the club, because I love the club and know how it works there. The new owners have to find the balance, learn the culture, and understand the game. I want them to be successful, they’re my friends. They’re my friends because they picked the right club to buy haha!