?With no football being played right now, Chelsea have the chance to turn their attention to their summer transfer strategy. While it’s tough to make any decisions right now, having an idea of what you want to achieve is pretty important.
Last summer’s transfer ban is long gone now, so Chelsea can finally embark on that squad rebuild which fans have been crying out for for years.
It was confirmed to 90min that Chelsea’s focus this summer will be on ?finding a new centre-back and a new striker, but there are a whole host of other positions which could be improved if the money is there.
There’s money from the sales of Eden Hazard and Álvaro Morata to be spent, and offloading some of the deadwood in the squad (looking at you, Danny Drinkwater) should add a little more to the transfer kitty.
Let’s take a look at four areas Chelsea will probably look to improve and who could help fill those gaps in the squad.
If you asked 100 ?Chelsea fans to rank the Blues’ four centre-backs – Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rüdiger, Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma – you’d likely get 100 different answers. Nobody knows who’s good and nobody knows who’s bad.
We have seen six different partnerships at the back this season, and that’s not including the eight occasions on which Frank Lampard has played with a back three. There’s no consistency, and that leads to mistakes.
Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga deserves a share of the criticism for Chelsea’s defensive woes this year, but the truth is that his centre-backs haven’t helped him. Positioning and decision making have both been poor, and the Blues have been leaking goals.
Ethan Ampadu might be in with a shout of featuring once he returns from his loan spell with RB Leipzig, while young Marc Guehi enjoyed two impressive showings in the Carabao Cup, but it’s clear the Blues need something more.
Given centre-back is one of Chelsea’s top priorities, spending big on Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly would go a long way to sorting out the issues, while AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli or Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké would also bring some much-needed experience.
If sticking to the youth movement is important, RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano cannot be ignored, and his expiring contract makes his attainable. Gabriel Magalhães of Lille is also a likely option.
Brighton’s Ben White and Verona’s Marash Kumbulla have both enjoyed breakout years as well, while Real Valladolid youngster Mohammed Salisu could be another long-term fix.
Tammy Abraham is Chelsea’s preferred striker of the future, and the 22-year-old has earned that confidence by firing 15 goals in his first season in the squad.
However, behind him, thinks look very uncertain. Olivier Giroud’s contract is set to expire, and there are doubts over his ability as a goalscorer anyway, while the polarising Michy Batshuayi only has 18 months on his deal. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both leave.
A new senior striker is a likely addition, and there could even be two new faces though the doors at Stamford Bridge to offer some much-needed competition for Abraham in attack.
Academy hitman Armando Broja isn’t ready to make the step up yet, and the loan army is surprisingly sparse when it comes to strikers.?
The name on everyone’s lips right now is Lyon star Moussa Dembélé, who is expected to be on the radar of a number of top sides. The same can be said of Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Real Madrid’s Luka Jovi?, but Dembélé is the most-likely candidate.
A trickier deal to pull off would be for Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose expiring contract might just force the Gunners into doing business with their rivals. Fedor Chalov of CSKA Moscow could be a good fall-back option.
Spending big on a striker is Chelsea’s plan, but it might not be needed. Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani and Napoli’s Dries Mertens will both be out of contract this summer, and luring either over to the Bridge on a free would be a huge coup.
It’s time to finally replace Hazard! The Belgian carried this squad for far too long, and Chelsea needed to add some more depth out wide even before he was gone.
With Willian and Pedro both approaching? what could be their final few months at the club, the need for new wingers has never been greater. Losing both would leave the Blues with only Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and imminent arrival Hakim Ziyech.
Ziyech isn’t exactly your typical winger, so Lampard might only have two options to choose from next year. Obviously, that’s not enough.
Youngsters Tino Anjorin is the most likely candidate to step up from the academy, but he could head out on loan instead, so the gap is still there to be filled.
The dream has been to lure Jadon Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund, but the competition for his signature has made the club think elsewhere. Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey or even Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha could emerge as targets.
A popular option would be for the club to bring Jeremie Boga back from Sassuolo and give the 23-year-old the chance he deserved when he was part of the academy, and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze has also been touted as a potential candidate.
If enough money is left over after the important business is done, Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa could be a nice option, but Hertha’s Javairô Dilrosun would be an exciting alternative.
It’s no secret that Marcos Alonso is a wing-back, not a left-back.? The Spaniard’s attacking instincts are among the best in the world for his position, but they’re still not good enough to mask his defensive woes.
Lampard has often turned to Emerson, but despite the occasional glimmer of superstardom, the Italian has struggled to impress, and both Juventus and Inter have been tipped to offer him a route back to Italy.
The fact that Lampard has turned to César Azpilicueta to fill in on the left speaks volumes of just how little faith he has in both Alonso and Emerson, and it wouldn’t come as a big surprise to see both leave the club.
The academy heir is Ian Maatsen, but the 18-year-old still looks a long way away from being ready for senior football.
In a world with infinite money, Chelsea would move for Ben Chilwell of Leicester City. The Englishman is talented and young, but those attributes have seen the Foxes slap him with an £85m asking price. That’s a bit steep.
The next name which has been thrown around is Porto’s Alex Telles, who is expected to be sold before he enters the final year of his deal. However, if he proves to be too expensive, Getafe’s Marc Cucurella could be an option.
A recent suggestion is Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi, but concerns over his asking price may quickly bring that excitement to a halt.
In terms of cheaper targets, Basel’s Blás Riveros and Southampton’s Matt Targett have been watched, but fans will hope to see one of the bigger names fill the void in the team this summer.
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