Former England striker Michael Owen has claimed that Chelsea have made a “really expensive mistake” with their £600million spending spree.
Real Madrid dumped the Blues out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage at Real Madrid on Tuesday evening and are currently 11th in the Premier League table, 17 points off the top four with seven games to go.
That’s despite an impressive recruitment drive since the end of last campaign that capped a £106.8 million January swoop for World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez.
Speaking after the 2-0 home defeat to Madrid that ended their European hopes this season, BT Sport sponsor Owen said: “It’s unbelievable, isn’t it, how many mistakes they made buying so many players and it will hit us. them where it hurts – in the pocket – because now they will have to get rid of players.
“Some players will not want to leave, so they will have to pay. It was an expensive mistake.”
Owen and team-mates Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand insisted the club needed a clean-up, but admitted it could be difficult in the short term.
Ferdinand said: “When you have players on huge salaries who have three, four, five, six or seven years left on their contracts, the problem you have is who buys them at a big price and pays that. how much do they pay?”
Owen replied: “Well, they don’t, they do, so they’re going to have a problem for a few years now. They will have players they need that they can’t find.
“They have to get players out and maybe some of the players they don’t really want to get rid of.”
Chelsea are currently in limbo with Frank Lampard, who was sacked as manager in January 2021, back in interim charge as a permanent replacement is sought for Graham Potter following his departure earlier this month.
Former Chelsea midfielder Cole said: “It’s a real job for Frank now because there are 30 players in an absurd squad. Many of them think they should be starting, let alone just in and around it. How are you going to motivate those players?
“They’ll be going to their travel agents now thinking, ‘What am I going to do for the summer?’. It’s just a tough job for Frank to get them excited for the rest of the season.
“But they have to be professional. Some will be playing for their future and trying to make an impact at the next club; some will want to claim whoever comes through the door. It’s difficult for the club.”
However, Owen believes that despite the work to be done, there is reason for hope.
He said: “I think with a bit of a clean-up, a smaller squad, a bit of stability, it’s almost impossible for them to finish in the bottom half again next season.
“They will bounce back and be a top six team, I’m sure of that, so all is not lost at the moment. At the end of the day, they still have great players and a lot going for this club. They just need to solve a lot of these problems that they have.
“It could be a lot worse – they could have a lot of rubbish players and be languishing and thinking, ‘Okay, there’s £500 million to spend’.”