Chelsea should sign two Premier League stars and not make any more gambles

The Frank Leboeuf column was first published exclusively at Si & Dan Talk Chelsea!

Mauricio Pochettino was finally confirmed as the new Chelsea manager at the weekend after we played our final game of the season and there is a lot of work to do for him to do to get us back on track.

The first task is to reduce the size of the squad. It’s not down to him but it’s down to the board to make sure that the prices of players are affordable for any team who would like to sign them. It doesn’t mean that you have to throw players away for silly fees and for something that is not a good deal for Chelsea. But it’s an emergency and it’s compulsory to make sure that you have a good squad size for Pochettino to work with.

Pochettino has the knowledge of the Premier League, he knows exactly how it all works with a team who haven’t been successful and he comes in to try and turn it around – as he did at Tottenham. He knows how to put the players back on track. But again, I do have some question marks about his capability of dealing with things at a big club. It was hard for him at PSG, although it wasn’t always his fault in terms of handling the dressing room at a club like PSG as we all know that it’s almost impossible to deal with the dressing room there because of the behaviour of the chairman, or the non-behaviour of the chairman. It’s hard to judge Pochettino on that.

Pochettino is tough and he will have to be tough at Chelsea, by first reducing the squad and then putting the players back on track and in the right frame of mind. I do think he might be the right person to do that. He’s a very hard-worker, a lover of football, and he’s going to use all the tools that he has to make sure that the players are going to be really tuned in and working hard. If you’re not working hard enough then you are not going to play, and that’s his policy. I will say that whilst I have question marks, I am quite positive and optimistic about Pochettino coming in at Chelsea now.


Mateo Kovacic could leave this summer and is reportedly close to joining Manchester City.

When he was playing alongside N’Golo Kante when Kante was at his best, Kovacic became one of the best midfielders in the world for me and the pair were absolutely fantastic. They both work very hard, the technique and the way Kovacic uses the ball, he’s very clean and tidy. When he was at his best like he was at the beginning of the season before the World Cup, he was one of the best players around in his position. then the World Cup happened and he kind of disappeared after that, had some injuries, and he was consistently giving away easy passes, and we aren’t used to that from him.

If he goes to City, where is he going to play? Is he going to start over Rodri for example? No, I don’t think so. Do you want to play 20 games a season at City, or go to another team playing 50 games a season?

I’ll be sad to see him leave. When he came from Real Madrid he wasn’t the player that he developed in to at Chelsea a few years after. I have enjoyed seeing him play for Chelsea though, I think he fought for the club.

But the club has to reduce the squad and that is the process of it and you have to be ready to lose good players.

Speaking of losing good players, Mason Mount has been heavily linked to Manchester United this week.

You have to realise that Mount has not really shown for the last two years the talent that he has. If it’s the Mason Mount of three years ago of course you want to keep him. He’s the kid from the club, he’s one of the most talented players that we have had in decades. But if it’s the Mount from the last two years then he can go, really he can go. His involvement, the way he has been playing has not been satisfactory for the club and the level of the club.

I know that Ten Hag wants to play him as a number 8. But because I love the player and he is a good guy then I wish him the best. But if he wants to have a career he needs to react now. For the club it will be sad, but really the past two years have been horrendous and you have to be fair and say the truth. He has to react now for his career.

With all these potential midfielders leaving and N’Golo Kante not even signing a new contract as of yet, Chelsea are naturally looking to sign new players in the middle of the park.


I don’t know much about Manuel Ugarte from Sporting so it would be unfair to comment much on him. But it’s always a gamble to buy a young player not knowing if he can settle in the Premier League easily, it always carries a risk.

Moises Caicedo from Brighton at least knows the Premier League, but he will maybe cost more. He has already showed at Brighton that he has real talent and has something about him. It would be nice to see him at Chelsea – he seems to be the right target and the right person for what we need. We have to be careful of the price tag though.

We live in a world of immediate gratification, where you become a star playing just 20 games, or you’re bad after three games. In my time consistency meant something, I don’t think it does anymore, because we need something right now, we are so impatient, we need reaction.

New players need time to settle down. In my case I came to Chelsea for £2.5m and I had no pressure. Nobody knew who I was, and I was already 28, I wasn’t 20. I didn’t need any time because I was already experienced. It’s due to maturity, we could settle down much easier than the new guys. So you have to be careful that you don’t pay £60m, £70m, £80m again for a player who has only showed his talent for a season. Chelsea have to stop gambling on players, that’s the thing. When Manchester United got Casemiro, there is no gamble there. If Harry Kane goes to Real Madrid next season, it’s not a gamble, it’s a win win situation. Chelsea are gambling too much and that’s the thing.

We need players who are ready now, players who we know have the experience. I have spoken on here about having no leadership, especially in the spine of the team. If Kante goes, Kovacic goes, question mark about Thiago Silva’s fitness because he’s going to turn 39 in September, you don’t know who the goalkeeper is going to be, we have no striker, therefore you have no spine of leadership. So where do you go from there? I’ve never seen that at Chelsea. Going back to my time there was Leboeuf, Dennis Wise, Roberto Di Matteo, Gisnfranco Zola, Mark Hughes, Gianluca Vialli, then after that there was John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, that’s another world! Who do we have right now? So it’s easy to see for me. Other clubs like Manchester City boast a much better and more experienced spine. It’s a big reason as to why we haven’t been performing.

Don’t spent £100m on young players if you do not have a spine, because that’s just useless.

Chelsea still need a striker. Romelu Lukaku is back this month with his loan finishing, but it looks like he wants to stay at Inter Milan anyway.

It’s a very tricky situation with Lukaku. I remember him saying that Chelsea were his team and he always dreamt about coming here. I know that he loved the club, but I think he knows he wont be successful here so he’s already said he doesn’t want to come back. I think he’s already made up his mind, so he shouldn’t come back. If you don’t want to play for a club anymore then don’t play, and the club has to do everything to get rid of him. I know he was a lot of money, but get rid of him because he doesn’t want to be here. Fans will be resentful, so as soon as he plays poor he will be booed and there will be a big dramas, so what’s the point? Try to get rid of him, shake hands and say goodbye, that’s it. I wish him the best; I love Lukaku, and I really hope that he will be successful and hopefully he will find his happiness at Inter, and we can get somebody else.


We need a striker, and I think we need someone like Aleksandar Mitrovic from Fulham. We don’t know if Dusan Vlahovic would settle here well in the Premier League. Good strikers are very rare right now and we are looking to jump on any names. I am sure there are some good strikers that we can find without spending crazy money. Victor Osimhen isn’t going to come because we don’t play Champions League next season. Harry Kane is not going to come, Daniel Levy doesn’t want him to go any other Premier League team so I don’t think he will come. So who are we going to get?

Mitrovic has the real mentality, he would move the dressing room. I think Mitrovic has a similar personality to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he can be that type of guy, he has the mentality of winner. I like solders. Those guys never never blink, they never let go, they always face up to it. I love it, I’ve played with many players like that – Marcel Desailly, Wise, Hughes, Zola, they were going to war and we were happy to have them on our side. We knew we could face anybody. We never let go, Mitrovic seems to be that guy. Sometimes he can be clumsy and that’s the only thing I’d be afraid of. He’s done very well for Fulham and he wouldn’t need to move that far away to join Chelsea!

Frank Leboeuf

Chelsea News