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Todd Boehly reveals why major Chelsea flop struggled in the Premier League
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Todd Boehly reveals why major Chelsea flop struggled in the Premier League

Todd Boehly reveals why major Chelsea flop struggled in the Premier League
Todd Boehly revealed one of his expensive Chelsea recruits was struggling to keep up with the pace of the Premier League (Picture: Sportico)

Todd Boehly admitted one of his expensive Chelsea recruits was struggling to keep up with the pace of the Premier League.

The American’s ambitious recruitment drive has seen his Clearlake consortium spend more than £1 billion on new talent, with the focus largely on bringing the best young talent in the world to Stamford Bridge.

One of his more experienced signings, Kalidou Koulibaly, would be a ready-made solution to Chelsea’s defensive problems.

The former Napoli captain was coveted by the Blues by a succession of Chelsea managers and when Thomas Tuchel finally secured the services of the Senegal international, Koulibaly was expected to play a central role in the rebuilding project.

Instead, Koulibaly struggled from the start and never recovered from a particularly clumsy display against Leeds United as he was sent off for what was only his third game for the club.

After just 20 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, he was sold to Al-Hilal last summer, with Boehly forced to accept a 50% loss on his investment.

The Chelsea owner insists he maintains a good relationship with his now former player, but revealed the 32-year-old could not believe the difference between the English top flight and Serie A, where he had spent the peak years of his career.

Kalidou Koulibaly struggled in the Premier League during his short spell at Chelsea
Kalidou Koulibaly struggled in the Premier League during his short spell at Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

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“There is no greater sport in the world,” Boehly said. ‘Just thinking about the size and scale of European football is just mind-numbing and there is no better competition in the world – the Premier League.

“You look at the way these guys play, the speed at which they play the game. One of my players with whom I had a great relationship is Kalidou Koulibaly.

‘Koulibaly came over from Serie A (where he played for Napoli) and he once told me: ‘In Serie A I have to think and then run, but in the Premier League I have to run while I think, and I’ I still have to adapt to that.’

Chelsea have subsequently invested fortunes in a host of new defenders, including Benoit Badiashile, Axel Disasi and Wesley Fofana.

Despite these investments, The Blues likely to sign at least one new centre-back this summer, following the confirmation of Thiago Silva’s departure.

In a video for Chelsea fans confirming his departure last week, Thiago said: ‘Chelsea means a lot to me. I came here with the intention of only staying for a year and it ended up being four years. Not only for me, but also for my family.

“My sons play for Chelsea, so it is a source of great pride to be part of the Chelsea family – literally because my sons are here. I hope they can continue their careers here at this victorious club that many players want to be part of.

Unfortunately, everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. That doesn’t mean this is a final ending. I hope to leave the door open for me to return in the near future, albeit in a different role here.

But… it is an indescribable love. I can only say thank you.

“Obviously when I started here it was during the pandemic so there were no fans in the stadium. But through social media it became something very special for me and when the fans came back to the stadium and life returned to normal, I started to feel a lot of affection and respect for my story and for my start here. ‘

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