COMMENT: Is there a method to it? Can you see it? This Chelsea transfer policy. Is there any order or planning to this spending spree...?
The latest we have is Noni Madueke is now back in London and was due to undergo a medical at Cobham on Friday morning. The PSV Eindhoven winger jetting in on Thursday night after terms had been settled between all three parties.
So another winger. Not the centre-forward they need. Nor the experienced centre-half. But another attacking midfielder. Like Mykhaylo Mudryk before him. Raheem Sterling over the summer. Madueke arrives as another attacking option for Chelsea. The Londoner to compete not just with the signings of Todd Boehly, but with those already established - Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount...
Again, is there a method to this? Does Madueke and Mudryk's arrivals mean the final days at Chelsea of Pulisic, Ziyech and Havertz? And if so, can anyone seriously argue that this is an upgrade on what they already have?
Of course, potential is a great thing in football. It offers anything and everything. It can land a player a contract beyond his wildest dreams. Generate a budget-saving transfer fee. All on a promise. But not a guarantee. Which is the area where Chelsea are currently working.
Madueke could be something. Mudryk too. David Datro Fofana, as we stated here, is an exciting, imaginative roll of the dice. But this is all it is at the moment. Nothing is guaranteed. Eden Hazard. Didier Drogba. Petr Cech. This isn't Chelsea buying to win the league. To be honest, this column doesn't understand what the motivation inside Chelsea's brainstrust is.
We've said it before here, all Boehly and co needed was a light touch. But they're ripping the place apart. It's a scattergun approach that makes little sense. Chelsea effectively are on course to buy an entire squad of senior of players. Throw them together. And expect it all to work.
And the craziest thing is, these players that are arriving, they're not being signed at market rate. They're being bought at Boehly rates. Just because Chelsea paid €60m, €80m and €100m for Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana and Mudryk, doesn't translate to them performing as such on the pitch.
Indeed, when we talk performance and guarantees, scrutiny really does need to be leveled at Graham Potter and his staff. If Boehly is seeking to replace what he inherited, Champions League winners n' all, with the likes of Mudryk and Benoit Badiashile, what evidence do we have that Potter and co can actually make this work?
Kalidou Koulibaly arrived with a reputation as one of the great defensive talents on the planet. But the Senegalese has been a shadow of the player we saw at Napoli. Raheem Sterling, still only 27, is labouring in a Chelsea shirt. Struggling. Underachieving. And played out of position by Potter. There's even press speculation that management are ready to give up on him at season's end. And what about Cucurella? Even under his old manager, the Spaniard has offered nothing like he did with Potter at Brighton.
Madueke is a talent. One with good potential. A serious pro, who rejected terms at Tottenham and an offer from Manchester United to pursue his career in Holland. And he's achieved good things there. But he isn't Havertz. Nor Ziyech. And you do wonder what Callum Hudson-Odoi makes of it all. Indeed on potential, given a straight choice, the majority of managers are signing the Bayer Leverkusen loanee over his new Chelsea teammate.
It's just another Chelsea decision in this market that makes little sense. In Madueke's position, the talent is already there. In multiples. As it was before Mudryk's arrival. Bayern Munich would happily take Havertz off Chelsea's hands. Ditto AC Milan and Ziyech - for the right price. And we know Jurgen Klopp would love to add Mount to an ageing Liverpool midfield. This is what is at Potter's disposal. Yet it appears rather than seek to help such players reach their potential, management have decided to axe them - and with unproven replacements. The stories swirling around Sterling a perfect demonstration of this buy and bust approach.
As Madueke follows Mudryk into the Cobham dressing room this week, nothing will change. Potter will still have to play Havertz as a No9. Trevoh Chalobah at right-back. And pitch the likes of Carney Chukwuemeka and Conor Gallagher together in midfield. A January spend of over £150m has done little to strengthen where this Chelsea team need it most. Just as it will do nothing for the current form of Sterling and Koulibaly.
As we say, none of this makes sense. If there is an actual method to this market approach, it's high time Potter explained it.