In what has become the biggest transfer story in years, Lionel Messi has left Barcelona in emotional fashion. The greatest player of all time will be making a swift move on the Eurostar over to Paris-Saint Germain and the football world is taking notice of this mega move.
Already the Ligue 1 heavyweights are being tipped to finally lift the coveted Champions League crown and that will threaten Chelsea’s defence of the trophy.
The pressure on Mauricio Pochettino’s shoulders was heavy before a summer that has seen Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi and now Messi all walk through the door. With that spending, anything other than European glory will be deemed a major disappointment for the club’s Qatari investors.
A front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Messi is likely to become the most frightening in Europe. Though it would be silly for Chelsea supporters to rule out their club of shocking PSG come the spring of 2021 if both clubs reach the latter stages of the competition.
Chelsea are European champions, they have achieved something the current PSG squad have failed to do. Lionel Messi – even with his God-like talent – has not picked up a winner’s medal in the competition since 2015. Chelsea’s almost unchanged core of players who triumphed over Manchester City in Porto have navigated their way through the knockout stages in emphatic fashion.
PSG on the other hand were tactically outclassed by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City over two legs where the likes of Neymar and Mbappe failed to get their side back to the place they were under Thomas Tuchel the previous season.
PSG’s loss in sacking Tuchel has been the Blues’ major gain since January. The 47-year-old is as big a threat tactically for Chelsea as any rival signing.
This is the biggest group of egos and characters Pochettino will have ever dealt with in his coaching career. The task of moulding them into a team that can coherently work across the pitch against the toughest opposition in Europe is not easy.
Along with Chelsea, you would expect Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to progress deep in the competition as usual. Manchester City will have similar expectations to go one further after their unsuccessful pursuit of the title in May.
Tuchel’s Chelsea are now perfectly poised by the German to nullify opposing threats and exploit their biggest weaknesses on the counter-attack.
Sergio Ramos – albeit in a poor Real Madrid side – had a torrid time coping with the runs of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante.
You add the major addition of Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea can be even more devastating in transition, which Tuchel already has imprinted on this squad. PSG have continued to invest majorly to reach their holy grail, but have also consistently managed to stumble at the final hurdle.
Fan Brands – Chelsea factbox
You may notice this piece of writing has been produced by a name you’re not familiar with on our regular Chelsea content.
That is because we are expanding our horizons and starting to bring even more to you from a whole host of different voices. We have appointed a whole host of people who – like our journalists – care deeply about what’s happening at Stamford Bridge – but sit in the stands rather than the press box.
We want to give you raw, authentic fan voices about the big issues at Chelsea – which is why the story you have read today might sit on Football London for now, and is part of the Football London family, but is not representative of those who work there full time.
Keep your eyes peeled for more info on where you can read more from this author in the future. But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy what they have written.
Chelsea fans should look back to 2012 when the Blues triumphed over Guardiola’s dominant Barcelona in the semi-final second leg. Chelsea played at a hostile Camp Nou with ten men and 2-0 down facing elimination but fought back against a team including Lionel Messi.
The toughest foes in Europe are not unbeatable and Chelsea seem to favour being placed in the underdog role despite their riches.
Tuchel is widely considered one of the smartest minds in the sport and his mere presence at Stamford Bridge gives the club a good chance of going deep once more. Messi’s blockbuster signing will likely take PSG to new heights, but the pressure on them to fulfil that huge promise might be their undoing once more.
What do you think about the Lukaku deal? Follow our new Chelsea Fan Brands Writer Daniel Childs on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.