In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, the impact of Roman Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea beyond the senior men’s team is analysed and Romelu Lukaku talks about the early days of his career with the Blues.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Forbes highlights club ethos under Abramovich
According to Forbes magazine, Chelsea’s active response to helping fans, staff and the community during the coronavirus crisis fits in with the ethos of Roman Abramovich and his decision to buy the club in 2003.
The article explains how the Russian businessman ‘was focusing on what could be achieved by owning a prominent club and influencing its course with innovative financing and ideas’.
While the sale transformed the UK sports business by bringing major foreign investment to the Premier League, it is pointed out how part of the original plan was to start investing all the way through the club and changing Chelsea's game on the pitch, in the stands and around the community.
‘Spending millions of pounds on player contracts and acquisitions to load the men's first team would soon be grabbing headlines,’ states the report.
‘But investments in other areas—development of a state-of-the-art player training centre in suburban Cobham, bringing an affiliated women's team officially into the fold, and expanding the charitable and social responsibility programs arm, to name a few—mattered in equal measures, even if they didn't appear at the top of the news pages.
‘The strategy was aimed at enhancing the physical and mental abilities that are vital to top-flight performance of players on the pitch and the organization as a whole.’
Beyond the success of the senior men’s team, the article points out what has been achieved by the club off the pitch.
‘Chelsea Foundation has become the largest charitable organization in the Premier League; its social responsibility initiatives and community education programmes engage thousands of people in more than 100 cities across the United Kingdom and 20 countries around the world each year,’ it states.
‘These achievements, among the list of ups and downs of football enterprise, are a message to fans, staff, and the community that Chelsea is enabled to respond to business challenges and social issues—whatever the circumstances demand.
‘As the new normal set off by the coronavirus pandemic sets in, leagues, clubs, and franchises are contributing in various ways to their communities. But this period of transition is accelerating the need for major sports organizations to drive social innovation as much as business innovation.
‘As the example Chelsea of during the Abramovich era is showing, the focus has to be on what the organization can do and what it should do.’
Lukaku gives credit to Drogba and Anelka
While the Belgian did not make a big impact at Stamford Bridge, he said in a video interview on Bleacher Report that he learned some important lessons during his time with the Blues.
‘I was only 18 years old, I had just finished high school three months earlier, I had graduated and suddenly I was already on the train to London,’ said the Inter Milan striker.
‘There I met Didier Drogba, he was doing physiotherapy. He told me immediately that I had to show him the “Blue” character. From that day on we started talking every day for at least an hour, before training, after training.
‘He, Anelka and every other player in that locker room showed me what it takes to become the person I am today. It wasn’t so much the coach as the players, they had a mentality that made them say “Okay, let’s go win”.
‘It was a great experience, I saw how they won the Champions League, the FA Cup and this has served me well so far.’
Blues to vie with Gunners for Kokcu?
According to the Daily Express, Chelsea will reportedly battle Arsenal to sign young Turkish midfielder Orkun Kokcu this summer.
The Gunners are reported to have taken a keen interest in the Turkey under-21 international, who had two goals and four assists in 22 games for Feyenoord during the abruptly ended Dutch Eredivisie season.
However, there has also been interest from a number of other clubs including Chelsea, Real Betis, Sevilla, Roma and Atalanta in the 19-year-old who has rejected a new contract with the Rotterdam club.
‘Feyenoord will know that one of the greatest talents will have to be better rewarded,’ said Voetbal International's Martijn Krabbendam. ‘If they don’t approach each other, the club will have to think about selling the player, and that’s all there is to it.
‘It’s no secret that Arsenal has already spoken to Kokcu’s agents, the Seville clubs are also very interested in the midfielder.
‘Chelsea is still playing in the background. Also, the Italian clubs Atalanta Bergamo and AS Roma are still very interested.’