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Chelsea transfer news: Thomas Tuchel cost Chelsea their own Kobbie Mainoo

Robin Bairner
Kobbie Mainoo, Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea
© IMAGO

The rise of Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo has been unavoidable in recent weeks, yet Chelsea should have had their own version of the teenager, only to squander their gem thanks to the mismanagement of Thomas Tuchel.

Mainoo caught the eye has he made his England debut in a 2-2 draw against Belgium earlier this week, but his performances with Man Utd had made his selection inevitable.

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He is just the type of player that Chelsea are searching for in their pursuit of a team to have both immediate quality but also long-term potential.

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Ironically, Todd Boehly has already agreed to let such a player depart Stamford Bridge under the watch of Tuchel – and for a bargain price, too.

Billy Gilmour exploded onto the scene with the Blues when handed his opportunity, famously winning man of the match on debut in the Carabao Cup, Premier League and Champions League. He was being talked about in the same way Mainoo is now.

All this, though, was not sufficient to earn the trust of Tuchel and he was shipped out to Brighton soon after Boehly’s takeover.

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Gilmour departed having been tarnished by a failed loan spell at a miserable Norwich side he was ill-suited to playing in.

“We expected more, he expected more so it was like, without pointing a finger, but it is difficult also for him and for us to not succeed, to not play at Norwich, to be relegated and then suddenly be a central midfielder for Chelsea and competing for top four and for every title,” Tuchel argued.

“There’s a huge step in between so we were looking. The ideal solution would have been maybe that he goes again on loan as the concurrence is huge for us in central midfield and we felt like he is not the age where he can live again with five or seven or eight matches during a whole season to fulfil his own potential so ideally it would have been another loan. Billy did not want to go on loan, it was a no-go for him so in the end we agreed to a sale.”

This decision has proven a bad one for Chelsea.

Boehly’s transfer nightmare with Gilmour

Chelsea fans were given an early warning over the American’s lack of transfer acumen at this point as Gilmour was allowed to depart for just €8.3 million (£7m).

Although the 22-year-old struggled to have the immediate impact at the AmEx Stadium that might have been anticipated, this owed to the Blues poaching manager Graham Potter, who was a big supporter of the Scot.

Had Tuchel been sacked just a matter of weeks earlier, it is likely that Gilmour would have flourished at Stamford Bridge on Potter’s watch. It was not to be.

Instead, he endured a difficult start to his Brighton career before winning over Roberto De Zerbi.

Gilmour vs Premier League midfielders: 2023/24

+ Billy Gilmour

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He has gone on to start 24 matches across all competitions this season for the Seagulls, turning in a level of performance that is flirting with the best in the Premier League.

In particular, his ability to fashion promising opportunities with his passing into the final third has been priceless.

Data analytics firm indicates that he is outperforming Chelsea’s €116 million summer signing Moises Caicedo quite considerably.

The Gilmour deal is one that the Blues got considerably wrong, robbing them of their over version of Mainoo and costing them tens of millions in the process.

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