Three items on Thomas Tuchel's agenda as Chelsea manager meets Todd Boehly
Chelsea chief Thomas Tuchel finally met with Todd Boehly over lunch for the first time after the American won the race to purchase the club on Friday - and there's plenty of work for the Blues new-look hierarchy to do ahead of the summer months.
After months of uncertainty, the club's long-term future appears to be much clearer after Boehly signed an agreement to complete his takeover of the club. The Blues' current licence from the UK government is due to expire on May 31 but Boehly's consortium is expected to wrap up their £4.25billion takeover by the end of the month.
And confirmation of Boehly's takeover would provide a welcome boost for Tuchel, who has been prevented from resolving some key issues at Stamford Bridge in recent months. Here, Mirror Football delves into the three items that are likely to feature highly on Tuchel's agenda now that he's officially met the Blues' incoming chief.
Romelu Lukaku was signed in a club-record deal last summer to fire Chelsea to more silverware, but the £97.5m Belgian striker has proven to be more of a hindrance than a help on the pitch. The ex- Inter Milan star has struggled for form since returning to Stamford Bridge; although he did manage to bag a brace in front of Boehly during last weekend's 2-2 draw with Wolves.
The striker has shown glimpses of a return to form, but he's caused issues off the pitch as well. Tuchel was left seething after the 29-year-old made controversial comments in an interview with the Italian media earlier in the season - and the Blues boss was unimpressed again on Friday when Lukaku's agent claimed there is a "problem" at the club.
Lukaku distanced himself from those comments, but the last thing Tuchel will want going forward is a troublesome player, and one in particular who has been anything but the Blues' main man. The German needs to evaluate whether or not he still believes Lukaku is the striker to spearhead Chelsea's bid for success on multiple fronts - if not, then he and Boehly need to put Lukaku out of his misery.
The special sporting licence that Chelsea were operating under prohibited them from engaging in contract negotiations - and they now have a defensive crisis looming. Tuchel has already confirmed that contract rebel Antonio Rudiger will quit the club with a move to Real Madrid in the pipeline, while Danish centre-back Andreas Christensen also expected to depart at the end of the season.
That leaves Chelsea with a dearth of centre-halves heading into the summer, and working out a solution is vital. The Blues have been linked with Sevilla's Jules Kounde for almost a year now and they could seek to rekindle their interest in the coming weeks.
But much will depend on Tuchel's summer budget, as striking a deal for the Sevilla star would not be cheap. Chelsea will need to recruit more than one defender in the summer - and they could require reinforcements elsewhere at the back if Barcelona firm up their reported interest in Marcos Alonso.
Resolving expiring contracts
The uncertainty surrounding Rudiger has dominated the narrative at Stamford Bridge in recent months, but rewarding some of the club's top home-grown talent also needs to be a priority for the new Chelsea hierarchy.
Reece James and Mason Mount have been two of Chelsea's most consistent performers this term and both are due upgraded terms. The last thing the Blues can afford right now is for more established first-team stars to run down their deals like Rudiger has.
If limitless spending is to become a thing of the past under the new regime at Stamford Bridge, then it's more imperative than ever that they tie down their young talent - or they could struggle to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City for titles in the coming years.