Former Southampton and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino needs more time to work his magic at Chelsea, says Malaysia fan, G. Aravind.
The 33-year-old from Kuala Lumpur said the Argentine has a good track record working with youngsters and believes Chelsea will recover from a poor start to this year’s English Premier League.
After five matches, Chelsea is 14th with five points from one win, two draws, and two losses.
Chelsea had a nearly two-decade dominance under the previous owner, Roman Abramovich, who took over the club in 2003. But things started to fall apart after the United Kingdom government forced him to sell the club due to his links with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
New owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali – the former is the ‘face’ of the club – have invested £1.2 billion in new players since the middle of last year, but the club finished 12th last season and had four managers.
“There was a scattergun approach to signing players. Just too many of them, and for so much money. And many were not battle-hardened,” said Aravind, who pointed to the signings of Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia for £173 million as examples of overspending.
“We miss someone like Marina Granovskaia, who handled transfers and contractual dealings at the club from 2010 until last year.
“If we can get someone strong in that position, it will help the club and the manager.”
Speaking of the manager, Aravind is convinced Pochettino is the right man to lead Chelsea back to the glory days.
He points to his great work at Southampton and Tottenham before moving to Paris St-Germain, where he won Ligue 1 in the 2021-2022 season.
“Pochettino had good results working with young players at Southampton and Tottenham. Chelsea has the youngest squad in the EPL (23.7 years), so, I believe he can transform the team, if given time,” said Aravind, who hopes to travel to Stamford Bridge within the next two years.
“Let’s see how he does from now until the Christmas break. If the board is patient, Chelsea will start moving up the table.”
Aravind, however, acknowledged it would be impossible for Chelsea to return to the Champions League next season but believes the London club can qualify for the other European competitions.
“Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle, and Brighton will fight for the top four slots. Not even Manchester United or Tottenham, so it will be hard for Chelsea to finish above them,” said the former sports journalist.
“We stand a good chance in the domestic cup competitions, most likely the FA Cup, but I will take the League Cup, too. Victory will earn us a place in Europe.”
Aravind said he started supporting Chelsea in 2003 because of Abramovich, and because he liked Frank Lampard.
The former England midfielder, who started his career at West Ham, moved to Chelsea in 2001 and stayed for 13 years. In that time, he played 648 games and is the club’s record scorer with 211 goals.
“What stood out was the 2008 Champions League final, which sadly we lost to Manchester United. Lampard chose to play despite the death of his mother (Pat), a few weeks earlier,” said Aravind, who works in human resources.
“He even scored a goal, but it was not enough. I was happy he got his hands on the trophy when Chelsea won the cup four years later.
“He was one of the best midfielders in the world, and it was an honour to watch him play.”
Chelsea is in action on Sunday when it hosts Aston Villa (9pm).
FIXTURES (Malaysian time)
Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest (10pm)
Crystal Palace vs Fulham (10pm)
Luton vs Wolves (10pm)
Brentford vs Everton (12.30am)
Burnley vs Manchester United (3am)
Chelsea vs Aston Villa (9pm)
Arsenal vs Tottenham (9pm)
Liverpool vs West Ham (9pm)
Brighton vs Bournemouth (9pm)
Sheffield United vs Newcastle (11.30pm)