The idea of Chelsea needing to sign any more central midfielders in January might seem a little bit absurd given the current options Thomas Tuchel has.
N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez are all in the first-team squad and have all been used by Tuchel in the opening three months of the season.
However, there is little hiding the consistent interest over the last two summer transfer windows for a central midfielder in the market with the name of Declan Rice rarely escaping the conversation. Another name that has been linked to the European Champions in 2021 is Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni who has been seen as an alternative to Rice.
The French international has recently opened up in an interview with L’Equipe on the persistent rumours linking him away from his home nation to some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
“My father called me, we talked about everything and he told me that I was on the front page of Marca. I went on Twitter and saw for myself. I told him it was cool, but what does it actually matter? It doesn’t. The front page of Marca will not define me or allow me to perform well in matches.
“It’s not real life, but it is the media world, the football business. They talk about me today but tomorrow, they’ll be talking about another. I know for a fact that what is true in October is not necessarily what’s true in June. If I start to think that I’m going to leave, it will show directly in my performances on the pitch.”
Along with Chelsea, both Manchester United and Juventus have recently been linked with the highly-rated 21-year-old with football.london being told via CarefreeYouth, that the club met with the player’s representatives in July over a potential transfer.
As we know, Chelsea did not pursue the Monaco midfielder any further and instead opted to recruit Saul Niguez on a one-year loan from Atletico Madrid with an option to buy in 2022. There were reports before Saul’s deadline day signing that the club could have jumped for Tchouaméni’s signature after Monaco’s Champions League exit in the qualifying knockout round against Shakhtar Donetsk.
It would be naive to fully rule out the idea of Chelsea regimenting their interest for Tchouaméni, in a similar way to the failed pursuit of Jules Kounde from Sevilla.
Even with the clear strength in depth of Tuchel’s current midfield, looking beyond this season would be wise when trying to forward plan the position for the next four to six years.
Tchouaméni will very likely be snapped up by a top European club soon and that may be in the Premier League with Manchester United. You add to that the other major target in this area being Declan Rice and his alleged fee only continues to rise beyond £100 million as West Ham climb up the league table.
Acting proactively on this matter would not hurt, especially if you consider Saul Niguez’s struggle to feature heavily under Tuchel so far, appearing unlikely to be worth spending £30 million on next summer. N’Golo Kante and Jorginho have contract questions over their heads with both entering their 30’s. Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s revival and Mateo Kovacic’s strong form both add longer-term solutions, however, this is still an area the club have actively been aiming to refresh.
Casting our minds back to January 2019 could signal a future deal Marina Granovskaia could replicate in January to secure the first signing for the following season.
The £60 million fee spent on Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund was a noteworthy deal at the time, but was one Maurizio Sarri would not reap the benefits from as the American would remain in the Bundesliga for the second half of the season before officially moving to west London for the 2019/20 season.
The singing of Hakim Ziyech in early February 2020 from Ajax had a similar feel with the Moroccan staying at his current club to complete the season.
With Tchouaméni’s comments on focusing efforts at his current club and the difficulty of completing deals for top players in January, Chelsea might find the Pulisic route a fruitful one to soften the blow to Monaco if they accepted the correct fee for the midfielder.
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Source by Football London