The ghost of £52m man has haunted Chelsea for 18 months; now is the time to break the spell – Opinion

It’s not over yet, but it already feels like this Chelsea season has been defined by one player who has barely featured – Christopher Nkunku.

His presence his been hanging over the club for about 18 months now, since the reports he had a future transfer arranged were first put out there.

Since that point, his future arrival was held up as the symbol of the start of a new era at the club.

His good performances in preseason felt like proof that this would be the case. The enthusiasm built steadily with his form, and was then shattered by his injury.

After that, we went back to waiting. No matter how bad things got, we had the return of Nkunku, the king in the hill, to magically restore our kingdom. Instead he returned, got injured, returned again, seemed to fall out of favour, then got injured again and disappeared. The period since then has felt like a despondent group coming to terms with the fact they were going to have to do it without him.

We have seen signs they’re doing that. Will we come back from this international break finally cured of the feeling of dependence on him and ready to attack the final stretch? Or will the ghost of Nkunku continue to haunt us all the way until May? We can’t wait to find out.


  1. What’s puzzling to me is how quickly Chelsea fans seem to sour on players when they’re out due to injury—as opposed to their actual play on the field. They seem to hold repeated injury against the player and fail to recognize that, 99% of the time it’s just bad luck.

    Christian Pulisic is a recent example of this. We all saw what he could when he was fully fit and given a run of games. But he sustained repeated injuries and then, when healthy again, was greeted with fairly harsh criticism when he didn’t immediately return to top form. It took next to no time before the narrative began to develop among the fan base that he just wasn’t good enough. Unfortunately, that narrative turned out to be DEAD WRONG, lol! He’s now thriving in Italy at a top club with 12 goals and 6 assists in all competitions (including the UCL) and it’s patently obvious that Chelsea made a mistake in giving up on him.

    I bring up Pulisic because this narrative that SuperFrank is spinning—that it’s now or never for Nkunku—is (a) silly; and (b) counter-productive. It’s silly because it ignores basic facts on the ground like the player’s need to ease back into competition before he can rightfully be expected to fire on all cylinders. And it’s counter-productive because it creates unreasonable expectations and places totally unnecessary pressure on a player who needs time to re-establish himself in the side.

    We’ve all seen what Nkunku is capable of. We saw it at Leipzig and we saw it in pre-season. So, if we believe in his abilities then we should place faith in the fact that he’ll come good in the long run and not start applying ARBITRARY deadlines (like “now is the time to break the spell”) on his progress!

    Unfortunately, SuperFrank’s opinion is a symptom of a far larger problem surrounding the club—the nearly hysterical impatience of the fan base. It’s a neurosis that’s as consistent as it is destructive, placing undue pressure on ownership over the years to sack managers and buy and sell players in order to try and achieve short-term goals (like ending a losing streak) at the expense of the long-term strength of the club. It’s manifested most obviously in the incredibly short tenure of every manager we’ve had for the past 25 years, but it’s also cost us dearly in terms of player development (e.g., never giving generational talents like Salah and KDB a chance to blossom as Blues). When will it end?

    The current ownership has been remarkably steadfast in its commitment to youth investment, even in the face of withering “supporter” criticism. But folks like SuperFrank appear unrelenting. They lack any sense of self-reflection and appear driven solely by their passion (rather than anything approaching wisdom). They get spun up (almost daily) on the latest gripe or hot take from a blowhard pundit (or their mates down at the pub) and then rush to share their “opinion” without stopping to ask themselves whether it makes sense or serves the long-term interests of the club. Chelsea FC desperately needs them to BE BETTER.

    1. Oh my… Your reply to super frank or what’s the name is absolutely correct. Chelsea fans are the problem, our impatient and toxicity towards the players and managers will only cause more harm than good in the long run.
      Awesome take

    2. This comment should have been the main piece. Thank you for properly articulating this. It’s almost like you read my mind.

      This opinion piece is nothing but clickbait.

    3. Cant really argue with this. Alot of Chelsea fans on social media are teenagers and it shows. Unfortunately it paints a rather bleak picture of the fan base as a whole. Then you have “content creators” like this that need to spin something to get clicks, shares and follows. Its a mess.

  2. Chelsea fans are the most impatient fans in the whole wide world, they only want quick success and quick trophies, unfortunately abd dissappointing to them, they won’t get what they want under American owner Boehly. Boehly signed Pocchettino on the young project job for 3 seasons and not one, there’s a lot of sack speculation surrounding Poch and they love to hear that kind of stuff.
    Chelsea are currently on hot water after being told they are the next club to get expulled from the epl for “profits & sustainability” breaches.
    If Chelsea don’t make sales of £168m from home grown talent, the club will go under.
    Man City has 115 cases of breaches against them, its nit an easy time to be a Chelsea fan.

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