Chelsea’s new era officially begins at Everton on Saturday.
It will be the club’s first game since Todd Boehly-Clearlake took over but expectations are as high as they were under Roman Abramovich.
Just as high is the intrigue, expense and drama off the field.
It has been a whirlwind summer as the new owners have been up to speed, while a rocky pre-season was far from ideal preparation for manager Thomas Tuchel.
The visit to the United States was largely welcomed in the American consortium as Chelsea traveled more air miles than most clubs in the Premier League.
They played and trained in sweltering heat, and a 4-0 defeat by Arsenal in Orlando warned Tuchel that he could not guarantee his team would be ready for the new season. He also admitted that they cannot currently compete with Manchester City and Liverpool.
Chelsea have shown no sign of reining in their spending but they have conceded a number of goals and it is doubtful they are strong enough to close the gap on the top two.
But there is still plenty at Stamford Bridge.
Sterling will become a key player for Chelsea following his £50m move from City. Tuchel believes the 27-year-old is a perfect fit for his system and the feeling around the club is that he can be a leader on and off the pitch.
Chelsea have also signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli and Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa, with Mark Cukorella close to joining for £52.5m and two more transfers planned.
Spending this summer is estimated to exceed £200m and Chelsea are among the highest net spenders in Europe. Expect to finish in the top four at least with this spending.
Admittedly, the loss of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona will make the start of the season difficult.
Amid plenty of changes, Cesar Azpilicueta’s decision to sign a two-year deal last night was a big boost for Tuchel. His leadership and influence could be key this season.
“I am really happy to extend my stay at my home Chelsea,” said Azpilicueta, who agreed to join Barcelona but failed to demand a transfer fee. “It’s been almost 10 years since I first arrived and joined the club so I really feel the love and I’m really excited about the new project we have in hand.”
The competition for the top four will be tough. Tuchel believes Tottenham have “probably the strongest team they’ve ever built” and Arsenal look good.
If Chelsea can’t catch City and Liverpool, it could be a run and a run in the top four in the Champions League and domestic cup.
In the long-term, the owners hope recruitment will be less chaotic and want to appoint a new sporting director, with former Liverpool chief Michael Edwards in talks to come in.
They will also look at increasing revenue to make the club more sustainable and use algorithms to judge managers’ goals against their costs during the season. It will be a change from the emotional and sometimes reactive business under Abramovich.
Still, it was a way of doing things that Tuchel bought into. He loved the old regime and the people who worked under Abramovich. Whether he can build that relationship with Bohly-Clairelac remains to be seen, despite the honest intent on both sides to build that relationship.
Much attention will be paid to what happens next at Chelsea and whether this new era will be as successful as the last.