Ex-Chelsea midfielder Andy Townsend has called for a complete change of culture at his former club, writes the TalkSPORT.
Blues manager Thomas Tuchel expressed total dismay at the current state of his Premier League side following a 4-0 pre-season defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
The German called out wantaway stars within his squad for creating a negative vibe and questioned the overall mentality of his players ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Chelsea are still recovering from sanctions placed on ex-owner Roman Abramovich, who recently sold the club to a consortium led by American billionaire Todd Boehly.
The Blues have signed Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly but lost defenders Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger on free transfers, while Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso want to leave.
Another lingering effect of the Abramovich era is a serious amount of dead weight hanging around the club.
Players like Michy Batshuayi and Tiemoue Bakayoko remain on Chelsea’s books despite failing to make a competitive appearance for years.
The club have hoarded players, sending a number of academy players out on perputual loan spells, and Townsend believes this is now backfiring.
He highlights the culture change at Arsenal, who shifted Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amid disputes and shifted focus onto their young stars, as an example for Chelsea to follow.
Townsend said: “I think now, under the new owners, it’s time for a change – a change of policy and the thought process that goes on around the club, the hoarding of players, which they’ve done over the years.
“When I read Thomas Tuchel’s quotes, ‘We have a lot of players who are thinking about leaving’, I’m hearing about Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley playing – this idea that these guys are going to kick in and come good? It’s fantasy.
“There is no chance they will take Chelsea back above Liverpool and Manchester City.
“They need to start adopting a different approach. Of course you need a squad, but they need to be younger and more dynamic like Barkley and Batshuayi.
“The club have an opportunity to rethink having so many kids out on loan, I appreciate that it makes them money, but when you’ve been at the very top, they need better players to get back there.
“You need guys who are gasping to get hold of a shirt and play. Chelsea don’t have that. They have too many sitting around.”
He added: “You can see that when Conor Gallagher puts the shirt on he’s going to give his all. Chelsea need more of that. They’ve got tons of players here, there and everywhere.
“What Mikel Arteta has done, along with Edu, is got rid of the culture [at Arsenal] where Ozil and Aubameyang get big deals and switch off.
“That is not the culture you want to show young players like Smith Rowe, Saka and Nketiah.
“At Chelsea, this money-making machine they’ve had is backfiring.
“It’s creating a culture that you can get crazy money and do very little.
“Azpilicueta is a brilliant committed professional. He gives his heart and soul. Now he wants to go back to Barcelona at this stage of his career.
“They’re not letting him go. He’ll be looking around at others thinking, ‘How are they still here picking up money and they won’t let me go after what I’ve given this club?’
“To stimulate those young players, you can’t have players sitting about doing nothing.”