Chelsea’s £600m side manage to show Todd Boehly they’re not ready to beat Fulham just yet
‘What a waste of money,’ chanted Fulham supporters who gleefully mocked Chelsea’s world record transfer spend in 2022-23 which, at over £600m, was higher than what they had been spending since 2001.
It didn’t matter that Enzo Fernandez looked solid and orderly on his debut after just one training session. The fact that the Blues spent so much and couldn’t find a way to win was a victory in itself for the opposing team.
Chelsea saw Britain’s transfer record dictate the game well on their debut, completing 90 minutes, and almost scored with a long-range shot in the 72nd minute.
Benoit Badiashile was flawless as the Blues earned their third clean sheet in a row, while Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana made an impact from the bench in the second half.
Only Mykhailo Mudryk particularly struggled, coming off at half-time after struggling to match his explosive Liverpool debut.
It won’t be easy for these new recruits to immediately turn Graham Potter’s underperforming team around.
Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Raheem Sterling all returned from injury in a game that could well have represented a new dawn with Potter having 27 of his 33 players available for selection.
Yet they now find themselves like a scalp that other teams are desperate to claim. Opposition fans mock, envy and resent their spending, while the figures, from players and owners of other clubs, are there to show that the Chelsea way is the wrong way to operate.
Fulham, remarkably, remain two places above Chelsea after 21 games in perfect publicity for their project.
Marco Silva’s side are everything Chelsea aren’t right now. They are not superstars, paid or almost as well as marketable. It is, however, a very well-established team.
West Londoners remain in transition and the only way out will be to do the same humble hard work their smaller rivals have been putting in.
However, with the circus around them, it will be easier said than done to pull it off.