Graeme Souness believes Chelsea have ‘gambled’ on three of their summer signings and has criticised Todd Boehly’s approach in the transfer market.
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Chelsea’s staggering spending spree under Boehly has continued this summer, with the Blues investing almost £400m on new players and breaking the British transfer record on Moises Caicedo.
But Souness says Chelsea have ‘gambled on potential’ by spending £115m on Caicedo and has similar feelings about their moves for Romeo Lavia and Nicolas Jackson.
Having beaten Liverpool to ex-Brighton star Caicedo, Chelsea also outbid their Premier League rivals to sign Lavia from Southampton, while they spent £30m on Villarreal forward Jackson.
‘In the last six months, we’ve seen Chelsea twice break the British transfer record – first for Enzo Fernandez and now Moises Caicedo,’ Souness told the Daily Mail.
‘In both cases, they were gambles on potential. Gambles that these young men will reach the heights that the extraordinary fees warrant.
‘I can’t help but think that when Todd Boehly arrived at Chelsea, all the club’s football knowledge walked out the door. He’s paid way over the odds by buying players on the basis that they were being linked with other big clubs.
‘Now he’s paid a combined £173m for Caicedo, a 21-year-old midfielder with one year’s experience of the Premier League at Brighton, and Romeo Lavia, a 19-year-old with a year at Southampton, because they were both linked with Liverpool.
‘The same question applies now as on the day when Boehly announced himself as Chelsea’s sporting director: Who’s he listening to?
‘What we have been witnessing in the last few weeks is the inflated fees Chelsea are distorting the market with. Boehly has come with a great big cheque book, not understanding the valuation of players.’
Chelsea drew 1-1 with Liverpool in their Premier League opener, Jackson offering a glimpse of his potential in the Stamford Bridge stalemate.
But Souness has doubts over Jackson and says the Senegal international – along with Caicedo and Lavia – could fail to make the grade at Chelsea.
While Jackson is already a key part of the Chelsea squad, Caicedo and Lavia could make their debuts for the Blues this weekend when Mauricio Pochettino’s side face West Ham.
Souness added: ‘Todd Boehly has bought three midfielders at vast expense, spent £800m in total, and still doesn’t have a world class striker. That’s an example of someone not understanding our game.
‘You can have the best goalkeeper, defence and midfield but unless you can put the ball in the net, you don’t win matches.
‘Boehly has spent £30m on Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal but that doesn’t add up to a proven goalscorer, for me.
‘Buying up young players because they will all get better one day and you’ll have a great team? I’m sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.
‘One of those players – maybe two – may become worldies. But to get them all to come through and become players? Good luck with that.
‘Caicedo and Lavia are just young men with great potential. The game of football is littered with players who simply never got any better.’
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