Former Chelsea player tells club to sign Premier League striker

This column by Frank Leboeuf was first published exclusively for Si & Dan Talk Chelsea.

Hello Chelsea fans and welcome to my latest fortnightly column on all things Chelsea!

I completely understand the fans frustrations and being fed up right now with the situation. We all love the club and we all want success. When you lose twice with one being against bottom of the league, it’s a normal human reaction to get upset. Then asking for Graham Potter to be sacked, but I don’t think it’s the right time.

We have players who are completely ‘ill’ and need to be ‘healed’ right now. We have the second leg against Dortmund coming up, but I think if we lose that and go out the Champions League, then it maybe the time to get rid of Potter and think about bringing in another coach.

We don’t have the players ready to give 100%, because they are psychologically very weak. If we carry on like this we will be surprised about where we can find ourselves, like relegation. Let’s hope the players are going to give a reaction now and that won’t happen. But it’s not impossible.

But if Chelsea go out of the Champions League, then it’s maybe the time to look for a new coach, but not to think we will get better before the end of the season, but for next season.

Let’s just hope Chelsea win the Champions League, Potter will stay, and the team will get better and we would have found the solution. But I really don’t know about that right now!

It’s not the right time to sack Potter right now until you see what happens in the Champions League.

If Potter IS sacked, who even comes in?


I spoke about Zinedine Zidane this week answering a question on ESPN. I said ‘yes, he would be a great idea, I’d be more than happy to even help him out if he wanted to know more about the club and the spirit of the fans.’

I think Zidane would do a very good job. He’s proven that he has the credit, and inside the dressing room when Zidane comes in, you listen to him. He knows the job. He won the Champions League as a coach and as a player, he won the World Cup and so many other things. I think we can give credit to Luis Enrique as well. I’m not sure Jose Mourinho is the Mourinho he used to be and you cannot work with nostalgia in football. I’ve never really thought too much about who would be the best coach to replace Potter if he was sacked. We would need someone who knows the history and can motivate these players.

Maybe I should put myself forward for the job haha!? I know the club so well and the fans know how much I love the club. Of course though, I have no experience.

Our biggest problem is weak mentalities again

The biggest issue we definitely have is lack of strong mentalities still in the squad. I have friends still inside the club who have been working very close to the players. And apart from Cesar Azpilicueta, there are no leaders. Thiago Silva is a technical leader but he doesn’t talk that much in the dressing room. Azpilicueta is the kind of player from my generation in the way that he is fighting for the club that he plays for, not only for himself.

We live in a world where everyone is very individual, and the players are just a reflection of the society we are living in right now, the new generation of society. We play a competitive sport and if the players are not ready to fight for each other and to sacrifice for each other, then nothing is going to happen. It happened to Real Madrid last season, it’s what we’ve seen at other clubs like Fulham who are doing well now, and Manchester United as well. We see the difference. Marcus Rashford is a fine example of it, fighting for his club.

I like the new players we have signed but there are so many players in the squad, and they have been so expensive. They need time.

There is a midfielder that I want to name, a player called Benjamin Andre, he played for Rennes and now plays for Lille, and he’s a real soldier and a warrior. The type of player Chelsea desperately needed and he would have been available for £30m at most. He’s like Denis Wise, Frank Lampard, Roy Keane, those kind of players. We’ve seen it from Casemiro since he joined United, we’ve seen the difference he’s made. It’s the experience.

Benjamin André, Lille's midfield motor
Benjamin Andre is 32 though, and does not fit the recruitment philosophy

Enzo Fernandez is going to be a very good player. But when you take so many players with no experience and just talent, it’s not enough. That’s something they need to understand.

I watched a video with Michael Jordan recently saying that in order to get credits and gain sponsorship, Larry Bird, himself, Magic Johnson, and Charles Barkley, they needed to prove it before. Now, this generation, they get sponsorship before they prove anything. They get it on the possibility that the player could be good at some point. We give crazy money to players who have not proven anything yet. That’s the point Michael Jordan was making. You can’t get that amount of money, credit, and fame, before you prove anything. That’s the problem with the players right now, it’s impossible to give their best when things come easily.

Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo, and the new players are all very young, but very talented players. They have little experience of top level football. They’re babies in the world of football. That’s my concern. How the Chelsea board sees the future with the present.

When John Terry came into the Chelsea first team, he had many players around him with experience, such as Marcel Desailly. It was a good blend.

You have to have the mix of youth and experience, and make sure that players who play for Chelsea understand the meaning of playing for Chelsea.

We need to have experience in the squad. We really lack that. We lack leaders. We need an experienced spine in the team.

So much of it is in their heads. They’re all international players. They’re all good players. Some players just want an arm around them all the time. That’s the thing, they want the immediate gratification.

They don’t do anything, but they want us to tell them they are already good when they didn’t prove anything. That’s not how it works. I remember Gianluca Vialli saying to me ‘Frank, we have quarter final of Champions League return tie, I want to know what kind of Frank Leboeuf will I have? Will I have the sh*tty Frank from last week, or will I have the Frank from two weeks ago, I want to know because I want to put you in the team’. It was straightforward. It worked.

The January signings so far


I’ve found Joao Felix very interesting in the middle of the park when he gets on the ball and the way he creates. He’s been a bit clumsy in front of goal against Dortmund where he should have scored at least once.

I think we can be happy with Benoit Badiashile and what he does on the field and how it works.

I think Mudryk has something about him for sure. But he’s far away from the expectations right now. We can see that Enzo Fernandez has already made an impact, but not enough yet for me. But he’s a very interesting player. Noni Madueke is a talented player.

But the bottom line is we lack and need a goalscorer, a striker. We need to score goals, because if you don’t keep a clean sheet right now you lose. 1-0 against Dortmund, 1-0 against Southampton, because you don’t score goals. And if you score goals first you are in a good position. I don’t understand, the first thing we had to do in January was to get a striker in my opinion.

I don’t know if Victor Osimhen was available, and there aren’t too many top options around. But you see Rashford, and that guy is crazy right now, insane. He just shoots, and he knows he is going to score. Chelsea lack that.

I’m sad that it didn’t work for Romelu Lukaku because I really thought he was the right one, but it didn’t work.

But maybe Aleksander Mitrovic could have been a good option for January on a short-term deal until the end of the season to see if it works? He wouldn’t have been expensive. Chelsea should look at him.

Aleksandar Mitrovic as important to Fulham as ever with no fears over mini  goal drought | Evening Standard

Spurs on Sunday

It would be useless to sack Potter straight after Tottenham regardless of the score. I want to believe that Chelsea at home to Spurs this season is one of the best games maybe we have had. We always have good results against Spurs overall so I want to believe that they will struggle against us on Sunday and we will find a way to win.

I really want them all, including Potter, to be able to sort out the problems and play with pride in this second part of the season, and then start next season with better goals. Being in Europa League next season might be a good way to rebuild something. Sometimes you just need a big smack in the face to rebuild something.

But we need to figure out how to score. We cannot score!

Frank Leboeuf

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