Mason Mount returns to Stamford Bridge to reveal the painful reality of Chelsea’s new era

The poster boy for Boehlynomics will be back at Stamford Bridge. He’s not Todd Boehly, and not just because, after two seasons of hubristic failure, he’s keeping a lower profile these days.

But the sale of Mason Mount to Manchester United for £55m net profit – in the Financial Fair Play dictionary helped bring Boehly to a wider audience – which, in a world of transfer fee amortization over several years, allowed Chelsea to spend a lot of money . sometimes as much; from an accounting point of view anyway.

Meanwhile, Mount returns on Thursday with his new employers. He has a solitary goal for Manchester United and Cole Palmer, the Mancunian who could be presented as his replacement, has 16 goals and 12 assists in his relatively short Chelsea career. All that from a player signed for less than the Londoners banking for Mount. It’s an advertisement for Boehly’s lighting.

Admittedly, the argument that Chelsea are shrewd traders ends there. It comes down to considering Mykhailo Mudryk or Christopher Nkunku or Noni Madueke or pretty much anyone else signed in a £1bn spree that leaves them in the bottom half of the table.

At the very least, Mount United’s career has been marred by injury — four series, three injuries — that have barely provided another at-bat to beat Boehly. “He’s a great football player but first it’s important that he gets up and stays fit because he’s had three injuries,” said Erik ten Hag, who has to decide whether to start for Mount in five months after reaching his last United goal. in the cameo on Saturday at Brentford.

Some schadenfreude has greeted Mount’s struggle. It is highly possible that he meets some jeers at Stamford Bridge; the reason being that his move was motivated by money. And in a way, it was: because Chelsea needed to bring in as much as possible, for a player who was entering the final year of his contract and who, having been at Stamford Bridge since six years old, home grown.

“I don’t think they wanted to sell it,” Ten Hag claimed, however, in an interpretation of events that did not necessarily help Mount. “They wanted to keep him and offered him a new contract several times. But he wanted to take this step.”

Mason Mount of Manchester United applauds the fans after playing in the final against Brentford (Getty Images)

Manchester United’s Mason Mount applauds the fans after playing in the final against Brentford (Getty Images)

If he intended to argue that United had to prize Mount away from Chelsea, he is right in one way: there was competition for his signature, with other Liverpool evaluators. But the fact is that Chelsea sold other academy products last summer, in Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu, with another offer, in Ian Maatsen, an attempt to cash in on yet another, Armando Broja , in January, and are likely to make a significant profit if they can land another, Conor Gallagher, at the end of the season, shows a wider trend. This is part of the business plan.

The shame of Mount, Frank Lampard’s protégé and a childhood admirer of Lampard’s, is that he seemed destined to become a mainstay at the Chelsea of ​​today. Only Mount and Juan Mata – another who swapped Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford, and with diminishing results – have helped Chelsea in the Champions League final. Mount is their double Player of the Year; but Eden Hazard and Lampard won the award more. He should be a great Chelsea, and instead the accusation is that he is a dysfunctional United.

Manchester United's Mason Mount scores against Brentford (Getty Images)Manchester United's Mason Mount scores against Brentford (Getty Images)

Manchester United’s Mason Mount scores against Brentford (Getty Images)

His success has faded since Boehly took over. His last season at Chelsea was his worst. His first campaign at United got off to a slow start, then he was injured before the end of August. If his latest spell on the sidelines has coincided with the emergence of Kobbie Mainoo, it prompts the question of whether there is a flagship signing in Ten Hag’s strongest side anymore.

Then there is the tactical question. It felt like the Ten Hag’s strategy for the season – with Mount and Bruno Fernandes deployed as a twin No 8, well ahead of Casemiro – was ruined on the opening day, with Wolves powering through an empty midfield. If it was a preview of many other games, usually without Mount, it is because United have allowed so many shots to their opponents this season. Mount’s best Chelsea form came in the first three of Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 formation showings he excelled in a very different system and role.

Mason Mount celebrates winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2021 (Getty Images)Mason Mount celebrates winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2021 (Getty Images)

Mason Mount celebrates winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2021 (Getty Images)

He needs to prove his success in United’s Ten Hag 4-3-3 game; the assumption is that the Dutchman envisions himself operating mostly in the central trio. “We are very happy that he is a Manchester United player because he has great potential and he will contribute and become a great player for Manchester United,” he said.

If he is right, it would be another indictment of Chelsea. As it is, Mount’s return is a reflection of a Chelsea washed away by a flood of signings, the Champions League winner sacrificed to an incoherent spending spree. Perhaps some Chelsea fans will barrack him; they should celebrate it and mourn it.

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