UEFA Europa League Final billboard in Baku

Baku beyond



Billboard for the UEFA Europa League Final 2019 between Chelsea and Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

Tim Harrison
Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

And so the shenanigans start. As agents circle Stamford Bridge like drones around Gatwick, the shape of Chelsea’s squad for the new season is being determined.

Yet all the while there’s a date with destiny in Azerbaijan to be fulfilled.

How will the Blues’ 2018-19 season be viewed? With a European final, a League Cup final and guaranteed Champions League football again, it looks good on paper.

But there’s a sense that all’s not right in SW6. The owner, Roman Abramovich, hasn’t attended a single home game. The fans are fed up with Sarriball, even if Morrie’s way of playing has achieved third place in the table.

One of the best players in the club’s history is leaving on the last day of the month, and a transfer ban is kicking in, denying whoever is in charge the flexibility to pick and choose.

But, as they say in Manchester, every cloud has a Silva lining. There will be recalls for some of the most promising players Chelsea has farmed out on loan.

The youth and development squads, so often promised elevation to the first team, might actually see their chances of Premier League football increase.

Meanwhile we’ve still got the climate-killing absurdity of two London teams flying halfway round the world to play the Europa League final, when just eight miles separates them in the capital. Funny old world.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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