The end of the January transfer window is approaching and Chelsea are still without a wing-back to cover Ben Chilwell’s season-ending injury.
The Blues have acquired someone of that profile in Dylan Williams, but the 18-year-old is expected to fulfill the role for the Chelsea’s development side following his transfer from Derby.
Thomas Tuchel hoped to cut Emerson Palmieri’s loan short so he could make use of a personality and playing style he already knew all about but Lyon have so far rebuffed Chelsea’s attempts for the Italian. The French side have the option to make the signing permanent this summer.
Kenedy did return from his loan spell with Flamengo, however.
Traditionally, January is not a month the Blues choose to do their business in. It’s understandable given the additional pressure and higher fees that are bandied about in the middle of a season.
However, this year has appeared unique in the amount of injuries and Covid-19 absences that have occurred over a winter period where Chelsea have accumulated 16 matches since the start of December.
As a result transfers have been considered. Tuchel has said as much, but the German coach didn’t want just any player.
“Nothing has changed but it needs to make sense, to be possible, make sense on a high level, also in terms of quality, personality,” he said.
“We have a look into the market, nothing has changed. We have all options, also the option to say no.”
While it appears Tuchel will see no additions to his squad before the window closes on Monday night, it should serve as a warning for the Blues.
While it was unfortunate to lose both Ben Chilwell and Reece James, they were linked to wing-back options over the summer but in the end did not act to bolster their resources. If Tuchel hopes to maintain the importance of their role going forward, finding a player of a profile where they can be plugged into the team should be crucial going forward.
It’s a strength the Blues have in midfield with the options of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
Manchester City are perhaps the only team to have matched Chelsea’s schedule, and their ability to maintain their playing style has proven invaluable.
Injuries to the defence have also shown why Chelsea must come to a swift resolution over their outstanding contract issues. They do not necessarily need to extend the deals for Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen but it leaves the prospect of requiring a number of signings in the summer. Any gaps must be filled.
All clubs will be continually scouting for their next stars but it feels a crucial moment of transition for Chelsea, and once again this summer their preparations could be truncated, with fixtures being compressed during certain moments of 2022/23.
The presence of the World Cup in the latter stage of 2022 has brought the Premier League season forward to August 6, with a break for the tournament from November 13 until Boxing Day.
As a result preparations for summer transfers must begin sooner so they can in turn be completed earlier. Romelu Lukaku landed at the start of the current season, but any player that can arrive and acclimatise before the opening day is preferred. Particularly in positions where relationships and cohesion are vital.
Likewise talk of Rudiger and Christensen’s deals have been rife throughout the season, World Cups typically ramp up any transfer talk too so the Blues must get ahead on any contracts set to expire in 2023.
In many ways, due to the timing of Tuchel’s arrival, Chelsea were unfortunate to find themselves with so many players entering their final year this term. With Kante and Jorginho among those now in their final 18 months, the Blues can’t let the same situation unfold.
The duo finished in the top five of Ballon D’or voting and have been key to Chelsea’s success, though with both older than 30 there may be some difficult decisions to come.
Arguably they will be more difficult to replace. While the west London club have often been linked to the likes of Aurelian Tchouameni and Declan Rice, and have Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour to call upon when they return from their respective loans – decisions must be made sooner rather than later to formulate a plan around each of these players.
The January transfer window may just be closing but the hard work for the Blues is just beginning.
Source by Football London