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Chelsea Fires Thomas Tuchel – The Latest York Times


Six days after drawing the curtain on a transfer window through which it spent more cash than any Premier League club in history — lavishing greater than $300 million on a swath of latest players in only a few months — Chelsea has fired its coach, Thomas Tuchel, the person tasked with crafting a team from those disparate, costly parts.

The dismissal of Tuchel, 49, was confirmed in a curt statement released only a matter of hours after the club had lost the primary match of its Champions League campaign, falling, 1-0, against the Croatian champion, Dinamo Zagreb, on Tuesday.

That defeat followed a stuttering begin to the domestic season that had seen Chelsea’s expensively assembled team beaten handsomely by Leeds United and Southampton, in addition to being held to a draw by Tottenham Hotspur. The club is currently sixth within the Premier League table, five points adrift of first-place Arsenal.

Tuchel had only been in charge at Stamford Bridge for 18 months, appointed early in 2021 after the club’s former owner, Roman Abramovich, had lost patience with the previous incumbent, Frank Lampard.

Tuchel’s impact was immediate: Five months later, a team that had been struggling to maintain pace within the Premier League was crowned champion of Europe for the second time, overcoming Manchester City within the Champions League final in Porto, Portugal.

Tuchel had, though, been unable to construct on that success. The club didn’t mount a sustained title challenge last season, eventually ending 19 points behind Manchester City, with the German manager unable to include the club’s record signing, Romelu Lukaku, into his team. Lukaku, the Belgian striker brought back from Inter Milan to London for $111 million, scored only eight goals before being allowed to return to Italy on loan in July.

By that stage, Chelsea was under latest ownership: Abramovich had been forced to sell the club after he and his businesses were placed under sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A consortium led by Todd Boehly, a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the private equity firm Clearlake eventually won the auction for the club.

Though Chelsea had been operating at an eye-watering loss under Abramovich, Boehly and Clearlake’s co-founder, Behdad Eghbali, have continued to pour money into the club. The transfer spree they financed this summer brought the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Stamford Bridge. Boehly himself took a central role in negotiations, with Tuchel consulted on the identity of the recruits.

Because the summer progressed, nonetheless, Tuchel seemed less and fewer satisfied together with his lot. He queried the “level of commitment, physically and mentally” of his players after a 4-0 preseason defeat to Arsenal in Orlando, Fla., a theme that continued into the campaign itself. His team, he said after losing to Southampton, was “not tough enough.”

Within the aftermath of the defeat in Zagreb, meanwhile, his words almost drowned out by the noise of the house team’s delirious fans, he suggested that Chelsea was “clearly not where we should be and where we might be,” before admitting that “every part was missing” from his side’s performance.

His latest owners clearly agreed, drawing his tenure to a detailed barely before he had time to clear passport control on his way back to England.

Mauricio Pochettino, the previous Tottenham and Paris St.-Germain coach, and Brighton’s well-regarded Graham Potter have been established because the early favorites to exchange him.

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