Chelsea's 5 Biggest Challenges to Winning Next Premier League Title
Chelsea came very close to winning the Premier League in 2013-14 but some disappointing results at key times saw them finish third. Jose Mourinho has assured the supporters that his "little horse" will be ready to race next year, but there are still challenges he will need to overcome if he is to bring the Premier League trophy back to Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho is a truly blessed football manager. Not only does he have the legends that he played a part in making still at the same club 10 years later, he has the best under-21s squad in the country. John Terry’s contract extension has already been signed, and Petr Cech will certainly stay at Stamford Bridge next season.
However, he will be facing his strongest competition since he usurped Carlo Cudicini, in the form of Thibaut Courtois.
The careers of the Old Guard are coming to a close, and it is important that Mourinho keeps them around for long enough to pass on the winning mentality to the next generation.
4. Champions League Distraction
Winning the Champions League was the greatest achievement in Chelsea’s history, orchestrated by a club legend who wasn’t Jose Mourinho. There was talk of his obsession with winning La Decima at Real Madrid, but you can bet that not being the first Chelsea manager to lift the Champions League stung him.
Their semi-final exit this year was reminiscent of the first Mourinho era, and even if they do win the Premier League, he will want old big ears at the parade with him.
While Mourinho has enough experience to balance his squad correctly, there is a chance that the Champions League could distract him.
3. More Challengers
The days of the "Big Four" are long gone, Liverpool’s title challenge has put paid to that. With the managerial merry go round in full swing and the transfer window wide open, there is a good chance that at least six clubs could seriously challenge for the title next season.
Chelsea could have won the league this year but slipped up frequently throughout the season, and there are no guarantees that their mistakes won’t be as costly next time.
2. Financial Fair Play
The principle behind Financial Fair Play is admirable, as it essentially turns UEFA into a modern day, footballing Robin Hood. The Telegraph have reported that Manchester City's £50 million sanction for breaking the FFP rules could be re-distributed through the Premier League, which will greatly benefit the likes of Swansea City and Southampton.
However, Chelsea are now unable to rely on their own billionaire benefactor to bail them out. Within three years, all clubs who expect to compete in the Champions League will have to at least break even. The Blues are on course to do this, but it has put an end to their free-spending ways. No longer able to allow expensive contracts to run down, their spending will need to fall in line with income.
There are moves in the right direction, with lucrative foreign partnerships and increased sponsorship, but this will all fall through if they fail to win the league within the next two seasons.
This is the biggest challenge, and it seems to be the easiest to fix. Chelsea have lacked a quality striker since Didier Drogba departed in 2012, so it makes sense to get a new one. Mario Mandzukic and Diego Costa have both been linked with moves to Stamford Bridge this summer, per Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, and it is easy to see where they would fit in.
The difficulty comes from the FFP-mandated one-in, one-out transfer policy at Stamford Bridge.
If the rumours of two incoming strikers are true, Chelsea will have to find a buyer for Fernando Torres. His nine goals last season are unlikely to attract clubs who would be able to match his current £135,000-a-week deal, and with two years to go on his contract he is unlikely to take a dramatic pay cut.
With Demba Ba set to stay at Stamford Bridge, per the Daily Star, it could be Chelsea's best striker in the form of Romelu Lukaku who leaves, and we have seen how well that has gone during his last two loan spells.
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