In many respects recent seasons have been unprecedented for the Premier League. Unforeseen disruption and squad depth being tested to its limits have seen difficulties arise for most teams. With the World Cup on it’s way in November and December, new challenges are once again on the horizon.
A truncated pre-season period and very hectic October of fixtures are in place to ensure the regular football calendar does not fall too far behind. Thomas Tuchel’s wish has been granted for the use of five substitutes which will go some way to managing the workload of the Chelsea squad.
That will make the nine players named on any Chelsea bench more important to alter matches, rest legs and to build momentum. With the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, Tuchel’s available numbers have already taken a hit and it is something that will have to be acknowledged and rectified this summer.
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Furthermore, the World Cup will bring a long period of unpredictability. The Qatar tournament will take a large chunk of Tuchel’s squad away from the Cobham base and they will return at varying times and in disparate conditions.
All of the above will impact how Chelsea will work when making decisions on transfers this summer. Having players that can be relied upon without the concern of the World Cup may prove crucial, particularly if they are figures that can aid the squad throughout the season.
The likes of Trevoh Chalobah, Malang Sarr, Levi Colwill, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Billy Gilmour, Hakim Ziyech are all confirmed or at the very least unlikely to be involved in a World Cup squad in the winter months. Chalobah is set to be a crucial part of Chelsea’s backline that is restricted in numbers. Many would not be sad to see Sarr depart, but Tuchel showed some trust in him as the player to step up when Rudiger was offered a rare rest and at left back. Success in bringing new faces would likely decide whether the Frenchman is allowed to leave.
Tuchel is set to watch Colwill in pre-season training after his breakout season with Huddersfield Town, with high expectations for the defender’s future. If he is brought into the fold for 2022/23, his guaranteed availability could go some way to deciding it is worthwhile keeping him a Stamford Bridge rather than heading out for a second loan.
Billy Gilmour saw his contract extended until 2024, but the fact it was via a clause rather than a new deal, may hint at some questions over the Scotland international’s future. However, where the likes of Ethan Ampadu and Conor Gallagher can no longer be named as under-21 players, Gilmour is eligible across Premier League and Champions League to be part of the squad without adding to it’s overall number. It’s an area where Ian Maatsen may also come under consideration for the Blues.
Loftus-Cheek has been linked to a move to Italy, but already served an important squad role in Chelsea’s midfield in 2021/22. His significance could be even greater as the likes of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic depart. Likewise, while this summer could be a pertinent time for the Blues to part ways with Jorginho, Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, could make his departure more difficult when the pros and cons are weighed up.
Ziyech has not been involved with Morocco over the last 12 months and last year saw an exciting pre-season and some opportunities around international breaks. Much has been made over whether he truly fits Tuchel’s system but his ability to produce, may tempt Tuchel to keep him even if he is not first choice.
Chelsea’s German coach has made it clear Chelsea will not simply let players go. Even in considering Cesar Azpilicueta’s future, in which Tuchel believes the Spaniard should have the final say, he said Chelsea would be “selfish. We are not responsible to solve any other club’s problems or to fulfil any other club’s wishes.”
There is little reason to expect otherwise with the rest of the squad. The first team will likely take priority over the best circumstances for development for some, the simple want to leave for others. At least until January.
Two figures whose futures may not be dictated by the November tournament are Kenedy and Ross Barkley. Both figures are unlikely to be involved in the World Cup, but even when the Blues were stretched and rotation necessary they were not called upon during the back end of last season. Their lack of involvement telling of how useful they were in Tuchel’s mind.
Nevertheless, another unprecedented few months could lead to unexpected decisions in the coming weeks as Marina Granovskaia negotiates and decides upon the best deals for Chelsea to accept or reject.
Source by Football London