Last season has to go down as one of the worst in Chelsea’s history. The club went through three managers (four if you include Bruno Saltor who took charge for one game against Liverpool) and earned just 44 points – their lowest in the top flight since they were relegated in 1988. And a 12th place finish means there will be no European football at Stamford Bridge this season.

So, when they signed off a disappointing year with a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle, you’d have been forgiven for thinking there was little optimism around the club for the following season. And you certainly wouldn’t have expected Chelsea to be prominent in Premier League betting markets.

But after a summer of change, there appears to be a mood of quiet optimism around the place. Some of the old guard have been moved on, with the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic finding new clubs. And several new players have joined, most of whom for eye-watering transfer fees, too.

And the new owners have brought in ex-Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino to oversee their project. Poch certainly feels more like a project manager than some of the win-now bosses such as Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti who were brought in by Roman Abramovich. But after spending almost £286 million on new players this summer, what will be considered a successful first season for the new Chelsea manager?

For all that they’ve spent this summer, it does appear the Chelsea hierarchy are looking at a long-term project under Pochettino. Young players have been signed on seven and eight-year contracts, indicating the club intends them to either stay in West London for a long time or move on for huge transfer fees which will allow for more investment in the team.

It was an avenue they seemed to be exploring when Graham Potter was appointed on a 5-year deal in September last year. But after just 11 wins in 31 games at Chelsea, his tenure was brought to an end.

While only appointed on a 2-year deal, Pochettino brings a wealth of experience to the job, including a 54.27% win rate at Tottenham where he consistently achieved top four finishes. Much has been made of Spurs’ lack of trophies during the Pochettino era, but he did take the club to their first ever Champions League final as well as the League Cup Final in 2015.

In 2016, Tottenham came as close as they ever had to winning the Premier League before, ironically, drawing with Chelsea on a famous night at the Bridge to hand the title to Leicester.

Perhaps more importantly for Chelsea fans, though, is the intense high-pressing style he adopted at Spurs (and at Southampton before that) which has been proven to work in the Premier League.

Chelsea are unlikely to win the Premier League this season. But for fans and owners alike, a top four finish must be the expectation. Winning a trophy would be the icing on the cake. But Chelsea is a club that believes it deserves to dine at Europe’s top table and anything less than Champions League qualification will be deemed unsuccessful for Pochettino in his first year at the club.