Chelsea have managed to stumble over the line into the Champions League this season, but they are still falling further behind the competition in a lot of areas, and four major elements of the club are absent or in doubt, making progress very difficult.
Firstly the manager. Maurizio Sarri has this week seen growing links connecting him to a return to Serie A with Roma. That is despite delivering Champions League football and a Europa League final. Uncertainty over a manager who is actually achieving what is asked of him shows there’s a lot more than meets the eye here.
Then there’s Roman Abramovich, who hasn’t been in the UK for over a year, and who sees his ownership of Chelsea constantly speculated about as petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe refuses to rule out a bid.
The playing staff are no better. Our star player Eden Hazard is widely predicted to join Real Madrid this summer for below market rate after a protracted pursuit.
Finally you have the sporting director, the man who is supposed to be tying up a lot of those loose ends. Michael Emenalo left in November 2017 and still hasn’t been replaced. That is a damning sign of a club which is drifting, as more of these threads unravel.
We’re still in a good place, with Champions League football secured, but unless a few of these holes are filled, we’re going to suffer a lot more in the years to come.