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Chelsea directors discuss transfer activity, reducing squad’s average and Pochettino

Chelsea co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart have opened up about their monumental £1 billion summer transfer activity and reducing the squad’s average age to just 22. 

Their candid conversation provides a glimpse into the club’s summer strategy and subsequent transformation.

Winstanley joined Chelsea from Brighton & Hove Albion in December 2022, while Stewart arrived from AS Monaco in February 2023.

They knew a monumental task stood ahead of them when they stepped into their roles at Stamford Bridge. 

Winstanley said (via Chelsea’s official website): “We knew there was going to be a big transition, no chance to sit back and relax. That’s for sure. 

“Did we think we would oversee a Premier League record of transactions? Probably not.”

The driving force behind this overhaul was the need to address multiple issues inherited from an ownership change, high squad age and player contracts. 

“But no decision was taken in haste,” Stewart added. “The volume of players out, the volume of players in, the turnaround has been significant.


“But there were certain things we had to achieve for the club and for the group this summer because results on the pitch at the end of last season made it clear it wasn’t working. 

“We had to make changes to put the club in a better position. We feel we’ve done that.”

One of the pivotal decisions they faced was the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino as manager. This decision wasn’t an easy one.

Stewart said: “It had to be the right fit in terms of the person, the leadership we needed, the ability and track record of developing players, and of building a team that can compete and perform in the Premier League. These are all things we were looking for.” 

Pochettino’s confirmation as manager was a momentous event, and the Argentine has made a strong impression since taking on the role.

Throughout the summer transfer window, communication between the directors and Pochettino was constant, resulting in a new-look Chelsea squad with an average age of slightly over 22 years old. 

“The ownership has supported us in bringing in the players we have,” said Stewart.

“The talent we have in the group is really exciting, and the dynamic day-to-day is really pleasing. That was one of our objectives, something we wanted to develop after last season.”

The directors acknowledged that success won’t happen overnight but are excited about the short, medium and long-term prospects under Pochettino’s leadership. 

While the transfer window is closed, Winstanley and Stewart’s work continues. They plan two transfer windows in advance and focus on nurturing talent within the academy. 

The academy plays a pivotal role in Chelsea’s present and future. 

Players like club captain Reece James and Levi Colwill, who signed a long-term contract, are products of the youth system. 

“We’re steeped in history with the players that have come through and had success, so it is a major part of our thought process,” Winstanley said.

As the directors reflect on their journey, it is clear that their natural rapport has been a significant asset in the club’s transformation. 

Chelsea fans will be eager to see how these ambitious plans and changes will play out on the field.

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