It is safe to say that since Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital and co took control of Chelsea there has been a great deal of scrutiny over how Thomas Tuchel will be backed in the transfer window. The German coach is aiming to rebuild his side following the departure of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, rather than simply improving the areas deemed deficient over the course of 2021/22.
While rumours emerge and progress is made on potential deals for the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Jules Kounde, Raheem Sterling, Ousmane Dembele, Nathan Ake and more, a number of issues also have to be resolved closer to home. While there is plenty of room for new faces in defence, the addition of a more forward-thinking candidate could see one of Chelsea’s attacking players depart.
However, of more immediate concern may be to stop more situations like that of Rudiger occurring again at Stamford Bridge. The German coach set his stall out early in Chelsea’s search for new owners.
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He said: “Nobody wants that with big players and important players nowadays. It’s a wish as a coach that we solve this in the summer in any way, that we solve it and it’s clear where the journey is and what the decision is. Yes, this is the wish.
“[If not] we have the same talks that we have had about Toni and Andreas. You just swap the names. We would talk about it through winter and then comes January, and then agents are talking to this club and the brother another. It would be nice if we can avoid it but at the moment it’s difficult [because of the sanctions]. But this should be the target for all of us.”
The obvious emphasis around the statement was concerning the futures of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, whose deals expire in 2023. Tuchel has in particular noted Kante as key for Chelsea but conceded the frustration of his current injury problems, their impact on any consideration on a new contract will only have been emphasised by his departure from the France squad earlier this month.
The implications of whether the midfield duo stay beyond next season and the roles they can play, versus the prospect of a summer transfer within the next two months would leave varying decisions on the kind of purchases Chelsea would hope to make this summer. How much the club believe they can rely on their veterans may dictate whether Tuchel believes that additions in the form of Conor Gallagher, Billy Gilmour and Ethan Ampadu can offer to supplement what Chelsea already have – or whether a transfer closer to the calibre of Declan Rice is required. Either way, Chelsea’s midfield is set to go through a transition.
They are far from the only players with contracts expiring in 2023, with the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley, Marcus Bettinelli, Michy Batshuayi and many others running down. Even Thiago Silva, who now seems so vital in the heart of defence, may need a replacement soon as Chelsea await his future plans and whether he is able to maintain his very high standard. Conversely, Chelsea success in the transfer market may dictate the futures of Azpilicueta and Alonso. Both seem unlikely to extend their current stay at Stamford Bridge, but the Blues’ willingness to cash in may rely upon Tuchel being satisfied with Chelsea’s bodies in defence.
A younger generation of Chelsea stars also enter the final year of their deals. Harvey Vale, currently captaining England’s Under-19s team in the European Championship, and Charlie Webster lead a list of names whose futures could soon be up in the air. The Blues may be reluctant to make use of loan deals until any contract issues or resolved, or for other youngsters it may be deemed time to part ways, while clauses may be activated as in the case of Billy Gilmour to provide some breathing room.
Figures like Nathan Baxter pose a dilemma. The goalkeeper is a graduate well beyond the development team and enjoyed an impressive loan at Hull City in the Championship last season. Chelsea would no doubt prefer to extend his deal if he is to temporarily move again, but if the 23-year-old could be persuaded to take the second goalkeeper spot with the Blues, little work will be required should Kepa Arrizabalaga leave the club. After a number of years of first team football, that may not be enough for the talented young keeper, though.
Then comes the deals of Mason Mount and Reece James, reportedly priorities of the new Chelsea regime. Both should be secured as building blocks of the club’s future. With Mount’s deal set to expire in 2024, it appears crucial to complete an extension this summer before the Blues enter into a vulnerable position. James signed a new deal as recently as January 2020 that does not expire until 2025, giving an element of security. However, with other wing-backs being linked to the club, ensuring his importance is acknowledged could prove a wise long-term investment.
Source by Football London