Thursday, May 30, 2024

Todd Boehly and Chelsea’s crazy spending spree before deadline day, Arsenal quietly add depth for title chase

So that happened. The transfer window slammed shut but not without providing plenty of drama, with Chelsea, of course, at the center of the action. I’m Mike Goodman, and welcome to the Golazo Starting XI newsletter. Let’s break down what was a wild deadline day.

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📺 On Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network 

🇮🇹 Coppa Italia action

⚽ Fiorentina vs. Torino, Wednesday, 12 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

⚽ Roma vs. Cremonese, Wednesday, 3 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

⚽ Juventus vs. Lazio, Thursday, 3 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scottish Premiership

⚽ Kilmarnock vs. Dundee United, Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

📺 What else we’re keeping an eye on

⚽ EFL Cup semi: Manchester United vs. Nottingham Forest, Wednesday, 3 p.m.

⚽ La Liga: Real Betis vs. Barcelona, Wednesday, 3 p.m.

⚽ La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Valencia, Thursday, 3 p.m.  

🤑 Chelsea spent A LOT of money


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Is there even anything left to say about Chelsea? Well, it’s my job to say things so I’m going to try. Chelsea signed eight players this window! EIGHT. Here’s the total haul. 💸

  • Enzo Fernandez from Benfica — €121 million
  • Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar — €70 million
  • Benoit Badiashile from Monaco — €38 million
  • Noni Madueke from PSV — €35 million
  • Malo Gusto from Lyon — €30 million
  • Andrey Santos from Vasco Da Gama — €12.5 million
  • David Datro Fofana from Molde — €12 million
  • Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid — €11 million (loan fee)

Since the summer, we’re looking at approximately over 💰 $669 million net in signings. Even in an age where the Premier League’s wealth increasingly dwarfs the rest of the leagues in the world, this is a staggering amount of money to spend. The plan, such as it is, simply seems to be to buy lots of young players on cheaper deals, hope they’re good and then hope they’ll be happy playing on the long contracts Chelsea have signed them to. It’s not impossible this plan will work, but you need at least three dominoes to fall for it to all come to fruition. 

First: The players will have to be good enough to play for a Chelsea team that always aims to be one of the best in the world. Even for great prospects, that’s no guarantee. 

Second: If the players do develop into Chelsea-caliber talent, then this plan still requires them to be happy playing for the long-term contracts they’ve signed. Boehly’s plan with Chelsea has been to pay exorbitant fees upfront and in exchange lock players into long contracts with reasonable wages. The sense of that plan only holds if the wages remain reasonable when the players improve.

Third: These players will have to work under multiple managers (or one manager will have to stay a long time). Again, the plan here is paying costs up front in order to buy young and create a stable corps for the coming years. But that means relatively little squad customization going forward, which either means one manager at the helm, or finding new managers happy to take on a squad with little room for changes. That’s what stability in the coming years would entail.

Alternatively, Chelsea could just keep spending like drunken sailors on shore forever. Paying big fees now in order to pay less later on is at least a theory of how this could all make sense. But theories tend to struggle when a team like Chelsea go through multiple months of sub-par results.

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🏆 Arsenal build depth for title challenge

It wasn’t the transfer window Arsenal expected to have, but it might have been the one they needed. James Benge explains.

  • Benge: “Instead of a youthful injection, Arsenal have pivoted to make the sort of moves that a title contender makes. Set aside young center back Jakub Kiwior and the two additions they have brought in are a 28-year-old forward in Leandro Trossard and Jorginho, the 31-year-old Champions League winner from Chelsea. In both case, Arsenal are extremely unlikely to recoup their transfer fee, and toward the end of their contracts, both players may well not be playing at a level that befits their salary. But if Trossard delivers a handful of effective cameos and Jorginho eases the burden on Thomas Partey this season, then their combined £38 million fees will be a price worth paying.”

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💵 Best bets

We’re looking for intrigue the next couple of days. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and all times U.S./Eastern.

  • La Liga: Real Betis vs. Barcelona, Wednesday, 3 p.m.

    💰 THE PICK: Barcelona (-135) — Quietly, Xavi has built a pretty solid Barcelona team. Awkwardly for Barcelona fans, it’s a defense-first approach that grinds out result after result, but it does grind out those results. The team has won three straight matches at 1-0. Follow SportsLine’s best bets on this LaLiga showdown here.
  • Coppa Italia: Juventus vs. Lazio, Thursday, 3 p.m.

    💰 THE PICK: Lazio (+270) — I truly do not understand this line. Juventus are a catastrophe right now. And while technically the chaos is primarily located off the field, they’re not immune from it impacting them on the field as well. They just lost at home to Monza. Lazio, meanwhile, haven’t lost in a month. And sure, drawing at home against Fiorentina isn’t great, but this comes just days after that they spanked AC Milan 4-0. When in doubt, pick the guys not currently suffering from a 15-point deduction for fraud. Follow SportsLine’s best bets for this cup tie here.

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