Thomas Tuchel was said to have clashed with Todd Boehly over the potential signing of Cristiano Ronaldo
Thomas Tuchel asked Todd Boehly for a second chance at Chelsea while on the verge of being sacked, with the former manager and club owner also clashing over the potential purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo, according to reports.
In a decision that caused widespread shock despite Chelsea’s poor form at the start of the new season, Tuchel was relieved of his duties as the Blues’ head coach on Wednesday morning.
But the drastic move is said to have had nothing to do with Tuesday evening’s 1-0 upset loss against Dinamo Zagreb, nor the fact that the Blues have lost three out of seven matches this season, with one BBC contributor claiming that new owner Todd Boehly was attempting to get rid of traces of Roman Abramovich’s legacy.
If reports are accurate, Tuchel and Boehly, who took over the club from previous ruler Abramovich in May, were on a collision course after an intense time together working on the purchase of several new players which saw Chelsea spend around $300 million during the summer – the most shelled out by any European club in the transfer window.
After Cristiano Ronaldo handed in a transfer request to Manchester United in search of Champions League football in preseason, the Portuguese star appeared on Boehly’s radar.
As Boehly gave Tuchel what has been described as unprecedented control in Chelsea’s transfer dealings – aided by the departure of former director Marina Granovskaia – Tuchel blocked the move for Ronaldo as he felt the 37-year-old was a poor fit for his squad and the brand of football he wanted to play.
Tuchel’s refusal to entertain Boehly’s suggestion is said to have caused strain in the pair’s relationship, particularly as the American felt he had given Tuchel new levels of influence.
“The owner of Chelsea had everything agreed to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, but the coach ruled him out, prioritizing others like [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang,” who was signed from FC Barcelona on deadline day and on the promise of reuniting with Tuchel from their Borussia Dortmund days, it was reported.
Left “totally shocked” by Boehly’s decision after he criticized his players following the Dinamo loss, Tuchel is said to have pleaded with the owner for a second chance at Stamford Bridge and wished to prolong a 20-month tenure that had seen him land the Champions League crown plus the European Super Cup and Club World Cup.
According to Sun Sport, Tuchel arrived at the club’s Cobham training complex ready to give his underperforming team another dressing down but found there was no-one there ready to greet him.
Instead, he was called into a conference call with top brass and pleaded for more time and a chance to reverse the team’s fortunes in a 10-minute meeting that ended with Tuchel’s dismissal.
As per replacing him, The Athletic reports that Chelsea are meeting with Brighton’s Graham Potter this afternoon with a view to him becoming head coach.
Brighton have apparently granted permission for the talks to take place, with Chelsea having shown a willingness to pay a release clause that is estimated at £12-16 million ($13.8-$18.4 million).
Should negotiations go well, the 47-year-old Potter could lead Chelsea as soon as Saturday’s west London derby against Fulham in the Premier League.