What is Todd Boehly cooking at Chelsea?
The new era, explored.
When serious bids started coming in to buy Chelsea Football Club, I always thought Todd Boehly and his consortium were the strongest option.
Saudi Media Group might have perhaps spent big, but the time it would take for the Premier League to approve that deal in the current climate made it unviable when the club needed a fast sale. The Ricketts family had some unsavoury views that many Chelsea fans rightly rejected. Nick Candy never looked capable of running a football club in a serious manner. The Martin Broughton consortium was not a joke offer, but it lacked an impressive track record in team sports. Broughton is a credible individual, but his brief time at Liverpool mostly consisted of him being baffled by how dysfunctional football can be compared to a normal business.
Boehly, however, was just right. I don’t follow baseball, but everyone I know who does seems to think highly of the work he’s done at the L.A. Dodgers. He wants to make money, but he’s willing to spend to do it, rather than penny pinching like the Glazers or the Kroenkes. He wants to win. And above all else, he’s an advocate of modern structures embracing analytics. In that sense, he has a lot in common with Fenway Sports Group (though he hasn’t been nearly as stingy in baseball as FSG’s Boston Red Sox in recent years), bringing a so-called “moneyball” approach to football. Similarly, board member Daniel Finkelstein has long made football analytics a personal hobby of his and spoke favourably of Boehly’s commitment to it.
So, of course, he’s spent all summer doing what’s felt like the opposite. Chelsea fans craving big-name transfers have made memes of how Boehly is “cooking”. But what is he cooking? What’s this meal he’s going to serve? How are his ingredients, and is he any good in the kitchen? Let’s take a closer look.
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