The Premier League title race went right down to the wire last month. Manchester City and Liverpool battled it out on the final day, and a late comeback from the former of the two ensured the infamous trophy would stay at the Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea’s job going into the 2021/22 season was to ensure that City and the Reds’ ongoing dominance of English football reached its conclusion. After such a promising start – and what, at the time, looked like an impressive summer transfer window – many had tipped the Blues to mount a serious title challenge.
“We know we compete with maybe the two most consistent and maybe the best teams in Premier League history at the moment,” Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said in April. “But I have to say I like it. It brings you out of bed early, and we will not stop thinking how we can close the gap.”
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Tuchel insisted that he relishes the challenge and that the Blues manager knows how big of a summer transfer window it is set to be for the club under new ownership. Several outgoings are expected between now and the beginning of the 2022/23 campaign, while numerous additions are also set to arrive at Stamford Bridge along the way.
Tuchel’s view on the ideal fit at Chelsea
Speaking after Chelsea’s final day victory against Watford last month, Tuchel was asked about the upcoming summer transfer window and what type of player he’d like to see brought in. The Blues head coach responded: “We have clear ideas for the profiles and characteristics of these players. It is not like you put a name on the list, and then you get the player.
“You have to convince the player, you have to speak to other clubs and convince yourself this is the player, so there is normally a lot of work, and it will be the same to be competitive next season, while, like everybody else, tries to close the gap to us, while the two top teams are what they are. A benchmark of consistency.
“This is the situation. And from there, we do our very best to be competitive because this is what we want to be.”
Where do Chelsea need to improve?
In truth, Chelsea could look to improve, or in some cases, add depth, in every single position. The term “rebuild” is sometimes used lightly, but this is likely to be a serious rebuild. With Boehly finally completing his takeover of the club, the American billionaire is expected to hand the Blues £200million as a starter transfer budget this summer, The Telegraph reported last month.
Starting with the goalkeepers. Edouard Mendy is the club’s number one – and with good reason. However, Kepa Arrizabalaga may well call time on his Chelsea career this summer, and another shot-stopper could be on his way to the Bridge.
football.london recently reported that the Blues intend to renew their efforts to sign 18-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire this summer. The American shot-stopper has been of interest to Chelsea in the past, and they could look to bring him in, as more of a future prospect, at some point this summer.
Onto the defenders, and this area is where Chelsea perhaps needs their biggest rebuild. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen both see their contracts in west London expire at the end of the month, and the two defenders are all but set to leave the club.
Jules Kounde is expected to sign for Chelsea this summer, and football.london understands the Frenchman is viewed as the club’s priority as they look to begin their defensive rebuild. The likes of Josko Gvardiol, Gleison Bremer and Pau Torres have also been watched by the Blues over recent months.
Cesar Azpilicueta is now into the final 12 months of his deal, and the Chelsea captain continues to be linked with a move away. Marcos Alonso’s spell at Stamford Bridge is likely to come to an end, too.
Alonso leaving paves the way for another left-back to come in and challenge/provide back-up to Ben Chilwell. The England international recently returned from a serious injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of last season. football.london has been told Borna Sosa is of serious interest to Chelsea, who are also keeping an eye on Marc Cucurella’s situation at Brighton & Hove Albion.
The midfield situation is an interesting one. Chelsea have Conor Gallagher coming back, and he is expected to be a big part of Tuchel’s plans next season. It’s unknown right now about the situation of Billy Gilmour, after a season-long loan at Norwich City.
Jorginho and Ross Barkley could leave the club, while N’Golo Kante continues to be linked with an exit. Although, it seems as if Tuchel is determined to keep Kante at Chelsea next season.
Aurelien Tchouameni is a long-term target for the Blues, but the France international is now nearing a big-money move to Real Madrid. Declan Rice is also someone of interest, but West Ham United want £150m for their star player.
Forwards-wise, Chelsea are chasing the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Christopher Nkunku, football.london understands, ahead of the summer transfer window that officially opens on Friday, June 10. Dembele is still yet to make a decision on where he will go next as he is expected to leave Barcelona in the coming months with his contract due to expire at the end of this month.
Nkunku, meanwhile, is attracting many clubs after an incredible 2021/22 season for RB Leipzig. Other names that have been linked are Neymar and Raheem Sterling, as Tuchel looks to add more fire-power to his underperforming forward line.
Source by Football London