In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Sairam (Writer – @ftblsairam) to discuss our lacklusture performance leading to an ugly 2-1 loss against Saints. The boys discussed starting Ziyech, the impact of the subs and not using the fifth one, the awful midfield shift from Jorginho, Hudson-Odoi’s loan and future at the club, the potential signing of Gvardiol and the next two very important days in the transfer window.
And then there were two. After Timo Werner followed Romelu Lukaku out of the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport, Chelsea were left with two genuine options to lead the line next season – and even that might be generous. Kai Havertz comes into this season with an underwhelming 12 goals in his 57 Premier League appearances to date, and this term is joined by 20-year-old Albania International Armando Broja. Of the two, only Broja can claim to be an archetypal number 9, with Havertz’s strongest position a mystery to all, and questions are being raised about the German’s capabilities as a centre forward after an anonymous showing at Goodison Park to begin the 2022/23 season. So, can Chelsea realistically secure another season of Champions League football with a roster of centre forwards with a combined 18 goals in their fledgling Premier League careers, or do the Londoner’s need further additions?
Broja caught a lot of attention from fans of his parent club when he bagged the sixth league goal of his debut season (on loan at Southampton) against Spurs in February. The academy graduate had been one of the revelations of the season, and his physical performance against Manchester United in his next outing – notable for bullying Maguire with his strength and movement – only added to the hype. However, the rest of the campaign passed without a goal for the Slough born forward, with many Chelsea fans wondering whether the club would decide to cash in on a young asset following a promising breakout season in order to help fund another summer spending spree. However, interest from West Ham and Everton never materialised into a bid and so the youngster was given his big break: starting a season for Chelsea with a realistic expectation of bagging 1500 or more minutes of competitive football.
Kai Havertz is in many ways the opposite of Broja. The German was bought in for a then club record fee, as opposed to being nurtured in Cobham from an early age, he was slight and technical, not physical and fast and he had the biggest clubs in Europe jostling for his signature when he touched down in London. Landing Havertz was seen as a major coup – many wondering if pandemic affected finances had enabled Chelsea to beat off the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to his signature – however Havertz has never really settled. A long-COVID affected first season finished in the most memorable fashion possible: scoring the winning goal in a Champions League final. Whilst that strike has written his name into the club’s history, the former Bayer Leverkusen man has yet to justify his fee. 5 goals in a 5-game stretch in the league in March and April seemed to be a turning point for Havertz, however six blanks and a series of costly misses against the likes of Manchester United and Everton to cap off the campaign left an underwhelming feeling lingering.
The departure of Timo Werner could result in this becoming a make-or-break campaign for his compatriot. No longer will Werner’s hapless finishing take the majority of the headlines, with the spotlight now shining on the under-performing Havertz. Ever since breaking through as the youngest ever debutant in Bundesliga history, Havertz’s talent has been abundantly clear. However, he is yet to prove to the Stamford Bridge faithful that he has what it takes to cut it as a centre forward at the top level. His frustrating propensity to drift through games without making any noticeable impact has also become a bone of contention with fans. Now the undisputed starting number 9 following Lukaku’s departure, it is up to Havertz to take his chance.
Early whispers suggested that Raheem Sterling could fill in as a false nine in Tuchel’s favoured 3-4-2-1 system, flanked by Mason Mount and Havertz. The season opener seemed to provide weight to this argument, as first Havertz and then substitute Broja often drifted left to create space for Sterling in the middle. While Sterling threatened for the first hour of play, and had a goal ruled out as well as a goal-bound effort brilliantly blocked, Havertz was anonymous. Although his movement may have assisted Sterling, it was not a style of performance fitting his enormous potential and price tag. His languid style is often mistaken for a lack of passion but here he did himself no favours with a mere 23 passes attempted the lowest of any of Chelsea’s outfield starters, illustrating his struggles at getting a foothold in proceedings. His most notable moment was a weak header into Pickford’s gloves from a first-half freekick. Broja was a bundle of energy when he came on, but bar one lovely turn he was unable to really affect the game, often left alone out on the left-hand flank.
All of these questions over the two youngsters prompt the question: are they good enough centre forward options to secure a top-four berth? The answer to this is hard to ascertain currently. Although neither has had a long career, both seem to score goals in spurts before going on a drought and Havertz famously is unable to hit top-form until after Christmas.
However, what is certain is that early investment from Boehly and co. suggests that Chelsea are building a side to be successful right now. The purchases of 27-year-old Sterling and 31-year-old Koulibaly are two examples of large sums being spent on players in their primes. Havertz and Broja could potentially need another season or two to acclimatise to the demands of leading the line for a top-6 side in the league, and even then they might not be of a title-winning level (think of the influence Drogba and Costa had on successful Blue’s sides of old). Sterling and Koulibaly are two extremely ambitious players who will have been promised a push for silverware from day-one, and so it is likely that the new ownership group will look to supplement the youthful attack with a sure-fire goal scorer at centre forward.
Herein lies another problem: there is a startling lack of talent on the market in this position. Clubs are having to take risks to secure players in the number 9 role. Think of West Ham’s £30.5 million purchase of Gianluca Scamacca. The Italian was initially wanted by top sides including PSG, however he seemed to be running extremely hot in Serie A, scoring his 16 league goals from an expected goals (xG) rating of 11.13. West Ham were willing to bet on the 6’5 striker carrying on his lethal finishing touch in a new, faster-paced league, but had to part with a considerable chunk of change to secure their man. Tried-and-trusted marksmen are in such short supply that Barcelona plunged themselves into further financial peril with the €45 million acquisition of soon-to-be 34-year-old Robert Lewandowski.
This all suggests that Chelsea find themselves looking for a proven scorer at just the wrong time. Two names heavily linked have been out of favour Barca duo; Memphis Depay and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. These two names understandably won’t have Chelsea fans salivating the way Lukaku and Erling Haaland did last summer. The former is a Premier League flop who has always been injury-prone and the latter captained hated London rivals Arsenal, and is 33 years old, a player very much entering his twilight years. Juventus have moved for Depay in the past day, leaving just Aubameyang as a rumoured target for Chelsea.
Gabonese forward Aubameyang actually hit the floor running in La Liga last season. Joining in January – after being sounded out as a disruptive presence in a young and impressionable Arsenal dressing room – he hit 11 goals and laid on an assist in just 17 league appearances, working out as a very impressive 91 minutes per goal contribution. This compares favourably to Chelsea’s current options: Havertz contributing a goal every 165 minutes of league action last term, Broja every 330 minutes. Interestingly, a lot of Aubameyang’s best work comes from drifting towards the left-hand flank, potentially dove-tailing nicely with Sterling in Tuchel’s system. Although the years will begin to catch up with him, much like Jamie Vardy, Aubameyang has maintained his blistering pace into his thirties, which will be another weapon for Chelsea as well as replacing a loss in explosive speed in the squad following the sale of Werner.
Although this paints a rosy picture of what Aubameyang could bring to Chelsea, it is worth pointing out the glaring drawbacks to such a deal. Disciplinary actions have plagued the forward’s career, which could cause issues in a youthful squad where he will be one of the senior heads. Chelsea also traditionally avoid signing players with no sell-on value and although that approach seems to have been eschewed with Sterling and Koulibaly, signing a 33-year-old forward with a patchy injury record would definitely be a risk. Large wages may also be an issue, with contract talks already beginning with Mount, Reece James and Edouard Mendy, and the new board won’t want to risk alienating these players waiting to sign on the dotted line.
Tuchel has known Aubameyang since his Dortmund days and got more out of him than any other manager in his career to date; impressively helping him to the top-scorer award in Germany ahead of the previously unstoppable Lewandowski in 2016/17. The German manager is playing a big part in Boehly’s recruitment drive and has previously stated multiple times that the focus is on winning now rather than building for the future (hence his stance on Colwill departing on loan). The pair of them will have to decide what is best for Chelsea, whether that means compromising long-term success for the short-term or not. In Havertz and Broja, Tuchel has two of the most talented forwards in England. However, Havertz may not be suited to a centre forward role and might benefit from dropping into a deeper role, whilst Broja needs a season or two of regular playing time before he can be viewed as a title-winning forward. Bringing in a win-now replacement in Aubameyang may hinder the development of the aforementioned pair, and there is no guarantee that it will end in success. But these are the tough decisions that Boehly will have to get used to if he is to fill the hefty boots of his predecessor.
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Danny (Writer – @danny_new_) to discuss the very disappointing decision of sending Harvey Vale, Tino Anjorin & Billy Gilmour to the U-21s, the massive centre-half dilemma and the striker situation after Broja’s departure to West Ham!
Edin Dzeko has left Roma and has joined Inter Milan. This means Roma are in search of a new striker.
Tammy Abraham has had contact with Jose Mourinho but has asked for two more days to give his final decision.
Abraham has also not given his ok to Arsenal yet.
There is an agreement surrounding money between Chelsea and Roma which is thought to be an initial loan for €5m and an option to buy for around €35m or €40m.
Abraham is happy with the interest from Roma but wants a few extra days to decide his future. (DiMarzio)
Tammy Abraham has agreed personal terms with Arsenal and would prefer to stay in the Premier League.
Arsenal is his preference and a decision could be made in the next few days regarding his future. (Rudy Galetti)
Antonio Rudiger on contract situation: “For now, talks have begun and we will see what time brings.” (Nizaar Kinsella)Trevoh Chalobah
Trevoh Chalobah is preparing to leave Chelsea on loan with a decision on his future likely to be made within the next week.
Valencia are among a number of continental European clubs interested in Chalobah.
He also has Premier League suitors.
A final decision is expected within the next week with Chalobah keen to integrate with his new team. He has two years remaining on his current contract and Chelsea could well move to extend it by a year before sanctioning any loan deal, but a new long-term contract is not likely to be discussed until the summer of 2022. (The Athletic)
A move for Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma collapsed earlier in the window but tentative negotiations have been reopened by West Ham over a potential move for the Frenchman. (Evening Standard)
Broja’s year-long loan deal has been confirmed by Southampton.
Romelu Lukaku has just completed main part of his medical tests as new Chelsea player today morning in Milan.
Lukaku may be in the country now or be arriving later tonight.
Official announcement and unveiling could be coming as soon as tomorrow. (Fabrizio Romano)
Romelu Lukaku won’t be involved in the Super Cup game against Villarreal. (Paul Brown)
Lukaku is now in Monaco with his agent Pastorello for some ‘technical’ stuff. If there are no other changes, he’ll be in London in the next hours to sign his contract.
There’s no issue or problem with Chelsea – Romelu will be announced as a Chelsea player soon.
Armando Broja joins Southampton on loan from Chelsea, medical completed today – total agreement reached after five year contract extension signed.
Southampton overtook Udinese in the race for Broja and have secured him for the upcoming season. (Fabrizio Romano)
Chelsea may feel that Broja is better suited for English football and the opportunity to go to Southampton was too sweet to refuse for the club and Broja himself.
Broja will join former Blues Tino Livramento and Dynel Simeu at the Saints.
Broja was granted the loan move because of Lukaku’s imminent arrival from Inter Milan.
Arsenal are ready for Alexandre Lacazette to leave the club and this will mean they have to bring in another striker and Abraham is near the top of that list.
Chelsea are demanding £40m for the 23-year-old and don’t have much interest in loaning Abraham out. (Mirror)
Jose Mourinho officially has asked for Tammy Abraham.
AS Roma are in need of a replacmenet for Edin Dzeko and in the last few hours Mourinho has asked for Tammy Abraham.
Roma consider the £40m asking price a bit excessive and will try and lower it by asking for an initial loan deal with the option to permanently buy him later.
Roma will face a tough challenge from Arsenal who are known as Tammy’s preference. (GFIN)
Roma are close tonight to securing Tammy Abraham.
Roma have offered Chelsea €5m to take Tammy Abraham on loan + option to buy later down the line.
Chelsea would prefer to sell abroad than strengthen a Premier League and London rival. (SkySports)
Tammy Abraham agreeing to go to Roma is the only detail that needs to be finalised and he will join Roma on loan for the upcoming season. (DiMarzio)
It is understood Chelsea have also shown an interest in the Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic, although any move for the Austrian would depend on the departure of Tammy Abraham, who is wanted by Arsenal. (Guardian)
Kenedy , Matt Miazga , Davide Zappacosta , Danny Drinkwater , Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley
These 6 Chelsea players have been put on the transfer list by the club. (Nizaar Kinsella)
Valencia have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah on a season-long loan after he excelled in pre-season.
Tuchel is adamant to not sell the 22-year-old and wants him playing regular first team football instead of being a backup for Chelsea. (Nizaar Kinsella)
It is thought that Valencia will be open to playing Chalobah at centre back as this is where Tuchel sees his future at.
Genk are still in talks with Chelsea over signing Ugbo for around £5m but still have not come to an agreement as of yet. (Nizaar Kinsella)
It is likely that Dujon Sterling renews his contract and then be sent on loan. (Nizaar Kinsella)
Chelsea will pursue a deal for Kounde after the Lukaku deal is complete.
Sevilla have rejected Chelsea including the likes of Emerson and Kenedy into a deal. (Nizaar Kinsella)
Henry Lawrence completed his season-long loan deal to AFC Wimbledon today.
Lawrence will be put straight into contention for the starting lineup.Armando Broja
Chelsea have reportedly rejected several loan advances for Armando Broja. That either means the right offer hasn’t been made or they plan to make him third choice ST next season. (Kristian Sturt)
With Chelsea set to play an unholy amount of matches this upcoming season, a young striker raring to make an impact with a burst of pace and power could be set to feature in League Cup and FA Cup games.
Erling Haaland ‘loves’ playing at Borussia Dortmund and ‘doesn’t seem to want to leave’ this summer amid Chelsea interest. (Jesco von Eichmann)
As of today Dortmund have not received a bid for Haaland. (Fabrizio Romano)
Today Guehi completed his move to Crystal Palace in a five-year deal that is expected to be ‘at least’ £18m. (Sam Inkersole)
The deal includes future sell-on incentives and an option for Chelsea to match any offers that Guehi could receive later down the line.
Broja today has agreed to a new five-year contract for the Blues. This will see Broja stay at Stamford Bridge until 2026.
Broja had this to say about his new contract: “I want to build on these foundations and I am really looking forward to progressing and making an impact at Chelsea in the years to come”. (Chelsea FC)
Chelsea are leaving ‘no stone unturned’ in their pursuit of signing Erling Haaland but are yet to make an official offer.
Chelsea are yet to offer an official bid or even hold official talks with Dortmund and talks are being done through “intermediaries”.
Chelsea will remain keen on Haaland for the remainder of the transfer window and are attempting to work through middlemen to try and get the deal done. (Sky Sports Germany via Sport Witness)
Kingsley Comanand Callum Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea are looking to engineer a swap deal with Bayern Munich that would see Kinglsey Coman come to Stamford Bridge and see Hudson-Odoi go to the Allianz.
For over two months the contract extension negotiations between Coman and Bayern have stalled, doubting a future at the club for the Frenchman. Their last meeting was 2 months ago, Coman’s agents demanded Sané’s wages (around €18m/yr). Bayern offered €13m/yr. Coman currently earns around €9m/yr.
Thomas Tuchel is reportedly a fan of Coman and the board are supposedly pushing the premise of including Hudson-Odoi in a deal.
However, Julian Nagelsmann is also a big fan of Kingsley Coman and is willing to try and keep him at Bayern.
Nagelsmann may be willing to keep the Frenchman but the club itself are willing to sell, citing a price of €90m to secure Coman’s services. (L’Équipe via GetFrenchFootballNews)
Chelsea are interested in 16-year-old Liverpool prospect Ethan Ennis.
Ennis scored a 26 minute hat trick against Sutton United U18 in one of his most impressive performances in the FA Youth Cup this year.
Ennis has turned down a scholarship offer from Liverpool and now looks set to join either Manchester United or Chelsea. (Liverpool Echo)
Despite being 16, Ennis has been a key figure in the Liverpool U18 setup and now looks to be moving on.
Ennis posted to his Instagram story a while ago that he had in fact visited Cobham, sparking the rumours that he may be on his way to the Blues.
After a good loan spell at Vitesse, Broja has reportedly agreed to a new five-year deal with the Blues. This will mean Broja’s new deal will last until 2026. (Fabrizio Romano)
With many youth players snubbing new deals in the last few months at Chelsea, this long term contract could inspire the likes of Tino Livramento to sign a new deal with the club.
Football London reported today that Peart-Harris will leave Chelsea in the next few days and join a Premier League side.
Peart-Harris is apart of the trio that have rejected new contracts with Chelsea. (Lewis Bate, Tino Livramento and himself)
Simeu’s contract expired last month and he rejected a two-year contract from Chelsea. Simeu is understood to have agreed a deal with a Premier League side.
Marca have reported that Chelsea are ‘heavily interested’ in signing Raphael Varane.
With Guehi departing and Chelsea centre backs not signing deals with contracts running out soon, the centre back ordeal may be underestimated.
To try and pry Varane away from the clutches of Manchester United would be an immeasurable task, considering they have reportedly agreed personal terms and a fee for the Frenchman.
Sport Witness have released a report today claiming that West Ham have joined the race for Ugbo.
Countless European clubs have reportedly been interested in the 22-year-old and a fee of around £5m-£10m has been discussed but Ugbo remains at Chelsea for the time being.
Ugbo featured in the second half of todays pre-season friendly against Peterborough which likely means a deal that would see him move away from Stamford Bridge is still quite far away.
Giroud today completed his move to AC Milan.
The deal is supposed to include “significant add-ons”. These add-ons have not been reported as of yet but we presume they are performance based or achievement based.
The 20-year-old centre back was seen holding up the Crystal Palace shirt next to Palace manager Patrick Viera.
This all but confirms the deal that sees Guehi move away from his boyhood club.
Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku
The Athletic reported that “should Chelsea concede defeat in their pursuit of Erling Haaland, then making one more attempt to re-sign Romelu Lukaku will be on their agenda”.
This same source told that “Romelu Lukaku has always felt that there is a case of ‘unfinished business’ at Chelsea”.
The source continued: “However, senior figures at Chelsea were surprised by reports suggesting they believe a bid of £150 million would be enough to land Haaland this summer as they are of the view that Dortmund have no interest in selling him this window”.
The Athletic have reported that “Chelsea would also like to sign Kane and have sought to establish his intentions. Some industry sources believe that might be more appealing to Levy because a cash-plus-player deal involving players such as Tammy Abraham, for example, may be more realistic in terms of affordability and positional requirements than what City could offer”.
The idea of Levy selling Kane to London rivals has always prevented any advanced rumours but the option of including Tammy Abraham in the deal might persuade him.
Henry Lawrence looks set to join Wigan on loan, following in the footsteps of the similarly versatile Reece James. (The Sun)
The 19-year-old going to Wigan could be the blossoming of a healthy relationship between the Latics and the Blues. And with the influx of youth stars at Cobham ready for senior football, Wigan could become a common place to send our youngsters.
Chelsea are ready to try and swoop in for Lewandowski in a £50m deal. (The Sun)
Seemingly failing with every move to try and lure Haaland away from Dortmund, we seem to have looked to Dortmund’s rivals Bayern Munich to try and bring their 32-year-old goal scorer to Stamford Bridge.
His age is noted as a potential issue but Lewandowski’s numbers just seem to get better and better with age. Signing Lewandowski is a massive risk and depending on how badly Roman Abramovich and Thomas Tuchel deem we need a new striker will determine whether we bring in Lewa.
Chelsea will allow Conor Gallagher to leave on loan for the upcoming season. (The Sun)
Crystal Palace and Newcastle will be the two main teams battling for the cntral midfielder.
Chelsea are not looking to sell the 21-year-old and feel another loan will be beneficial in his career and help him to establish a place in the team in the next few seasons.
The striker position at Chelsea will be undergoing monumental changes over the coming summer. Tammy Abraham has been linked with moves away ever since his playing time diminished at the end of the season and Giroud is constantly being approached by AC Milan about a potential deal. If the two of these strikers were to leave, it would leave the striker position relatively empty heading into the 2021/22 season. The Haaland news has dried up as of late as Achraf Hakimi has become the main focus for the Blues. With the lack of world class strikers available on the market this summer and the Haaland deal looking more and more unlikely by the day, Chelsea could be in big trouble heading into a new season with not much back up for Havertz and Werner.
The departure of Giroud and Abraham will leave a big hole in Chelsea fans hearts and in the Chelsea squad. With Giroud about to leave for a small fee (or no fee at all) and the Mirror reporting that Aston Villa are ready to place a bid for Tammy Abraham, we will be left with just a few months to secure one or two replacements for the striker position. Havertz has filled in expertly at the striker position, but a looming possibility of a formation change for Tuchel’s Blues questions whether Havertz will stay as an option up front. Kai could be moved to an attacking midfield role, worryingly leaving just Timo Werner as the only striker option in the Chelsea squad.
The lack of options at striker for Chelsea for the coming season worries me a lot. If Werner cannot discover his goal scoring form of his Lepizig days, we could be in for a low scoring season as a team. The only factor Tuchel can be criticised for so far around his tenure at Chelsea is the lack of goals being scored. Even with around four choices for the striker position, the goals were very low and taking away two of our options from the number nine spot can’t help. A solid backup striker is a staple in a team contending for the League title and if things don’t go our way this summer we could be stuck with very little options. Having different options at striker also helps if there is injury trouble throughout the campaign.
In an era where Chelsea are constantly linked with every striker under the sun during the summer transfer window, this time there is only a handful of names that have come up in regards to suitable striking options. The names that Chelsea fans have become used to hearing about in the last month or so are Erling Haaland, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane.
A few months ago, the optimism for securing at least one of these world class strikers was through the roof and now with each passing day these three become even harder to sign. Lukaku is completely out the picture as he has confirmed his pleasure to stay at Inter Milan. Harry Kane looks destined for Manchester City and the Chelsea links for him have completely dried up since earlier this month. Somehow, one of the hottest prospects in football with the likes of Real Madrid chasing after him seems to be the most likely forward that we could sign this summer. An astronomical fee will be required to secure Haaland, with various trusted sources claiming it could be upwards of £150m to bring the Norwegian in. Apparently the fee could be the least of our worries, as the wage demands are deemed as the biggest issue in the way of a deal happening. No other solid reports of strikers are surfacing from trusted sources and it looks like a world class striker coming to Stamford Bridge this summer is becoming more and more unlikely.
Euro 2020 also effects our chances of signing a striker as negotiations will be harder to complete whilst players are focused on the competition. Any striker at the Euros will be difficult to sign as players will want to be involved in their future. The Euros end on Sunday 11th July and the Premier League transfer window closes on Tuesday August 31st at 11pm. 51 Days to bring in a replacement striker. The Kai Havertz saga last summer felt like it took forever and I can only imagine the time needed to sort out a deal for Haaland who will be at least double his fee. If Chelsea cannot acquire any of the three names mentioned, maybe it is time to look somewhere else, the loan army.
The loan army does contain suitable Premier League strikers and the pre-season period will be extremely important for Thomas Tuchel deciding who to keep in the first team setup. The three loan army members of note that occupy the striker position are Michy Batshuayi, Ike Ugbo and Armando Broja. Chelsea are reportedly working hard to sell Ugbo and Batshuayi, however Broja is currently in talks for a new contract. Leeds were in hot pursuit of Michy but the £15m asking price from the Blues has seen them cool down their chase for the Belgian. The asking price set for Batshuayi seems to be too high for most clubs at the moment, however reports are claiming Bielsa is interested in the 27-year-old as he managed him at Marseille in 2014. Ugbo is coming off of an exceptional loan spell at Cercle Brugge where he bagged 16 goals and three teams are supposedly interested in signing the Englishman. Watford, Frankfurt and Genk are currently battling it out for Ike and it looks like Chelsea are ready to let him go for a small fee. With two of the three loan army strikers gone, it leaves the 19-year-old Albanian Armando Broja.
Sky have reported that Thomas Tuchel is considering including Broja in his Premier League squad for the upcoming season. With good reason comes this thought from Tuchel as Broja helped Vitesse achieving a fourth place finish in the Eredivisie and a KNVB Cup Final visit. The 19-year-old scored 11 goals and got 3 assists in 34 games. These numbers for a first loan are quite good and the standard of the Eredivisie is higher than a lot of people realise. Frank Lampard first introduced Broja to senior football against Everton on the 8th March 2020 and Tuchel has seemingly continued the interest in the Albanian forward. Bringing Broja into the Premier League squad would likely cause a lot of contrasting views from different sections of supporters. Some fans may feel that Broja is too raw at this moment in time and needs another loan to really earn his place in the squad. However, some other types of fans may think that it is worth utilising Broja and his skills rather than splashing the outrageous amounts of cash needed to bring in the likes of Haaland and Kane. My thoughts are that Tuchel should be able to assess Broja in friendlies and in training to judge if he is ready for English football at the highest level. Armando could cause a lot of teams trouble with his lanky frame and eye for goal. Above you can see a perfect example of Broja’s bread and butter. Explosiveness, pace and finishing.
Chelsea have already confirmed the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech and are expected to have a busy transfer window with the club looking to offload a number of squad players.
But where do the new signings rank amongst the squad? Who should be starting every week? Who needs to be sold?
Well, here’s my rankings from “Star player” down to “Must be sold”
As you can see, the list is quite ‘bottom heavy’ with a large number of players thrown into the must be sold category. The likes of Bakayoko, Batshuayi and Pedro feature as they look destined to be moved on by the club and I doubt many Chelsea fans would disagree. There are, however, some admittedly controversial picks in this tier.
Jorginho is a player who has drastically divided the fanbase ever since he signed for the club in 2018. Since the restart, Jorginho has been out-of-favour and Chelsea managed to win four out of the five league games in which the Italian midfielder didn’t start, scoring an impressive 12 goals in the process. Due to injuries to both N’Golo Kanté and Billy Gilmour, Lampard was forced to hand Jorginho his first start against Sheffield United and The Blues were thumped 3-0 with many describing the performance as the “worst of the season” and Jorginho faced the brunt of the criticism due to a lacklustre display. Despite beating Norwich 1-0, Chelsea put in another fairly disappointing display which lacked urgency, tempo and attacking quality. Yet again, Jorginho started this game and for me, he’s a big part of the problem.
I personally don’t dislike Antonio Rudiger as much as most Chelsea fans seem to. I think he does offer some leadership and certainly has a physical presence which most of his peers lack, however if I’m being completely honest (and harsh) he simply cannot defend.
He’s a central defender… who can’t defend!
So, not only do I think Rudiger should be moved on but I also believe his calamitous partner Andreas Christensen has had more than enough chances at the club. These two are an actual comedy spectacle when they line up next to each other and while Andreas is still young and could improve, I just don’t think he’s suited to be a Premier League centre-half. Although he’s welcome to prove me wrong!
Finally from the bottom tier, Kepa has to be sold. I’ve never witnessed a goalkeeper at the top level struggle to stop shots so badly. The club are reportedly interested in Jan Oblak and Andre Onana, both of whom would massively improve our squad, so Arrizabalaga has to go.
Just as a caveat, Willian has been included in the ‘must be sold’ category solely based on his contract situation, otherwise I’d be happy for him to stick around for a year as a squad player.
The boys in the ‘loan’ list are fairly self explanatory. The teenage lads from the academy could do with a season on loan in the Championship or even League 1 to get acclimated with senior football. I’ve chucked Kenedy in there too just because I think he’s hugely underrated so I’d like the club to keep him on the books, but it looks likely that he’ll be leaving on a permanent basis.
The squad players section was fairly easy for me. Not all 23 first-teamers can be ‘world class’ (unless you’re Manchester City) so we need a solid bench consisting of players who can come into the squad when needed and make an impact. Players who “offer something different” are key throughout a squad and the likes of Olivier Giroud,Ross Barkley and Marcos Alonso all tick that box. Giroud has proven his value since the restart and is still a goal threat, while Barkley has actually impressed at times throughout the season and by all accounts works extremely hard to improve himself. The reason I’d keep Alonso around is because he gives us the option to switch to a three-at-the-back system whereas Emerson, for me, just offers very little.
There’s absolutely no reason why both Billy Gilmour and Tammy Abraham cannot be starters next season. They both have the quality as they have proven already, but due the signing of Timo Werner and Lampard moving Kanté into a deeper role, I think that they may not be nailed on to start week-in week-out next year but both will certainly play a crucial role in the long-term.
The regular starters that I’ve selected are a perfect blend of youth and experience in my opinion. Azpilicueta has proven to still be a quality captain and player throughout the season and I believe that Frank Lampard is a big fan of the spaniard, Reece James is also battling for the same position though and deserves to be a starter so we may see ‘Dave’ continue to feature as a left-back. However, if we do sign Tagliafico, Telles, Chilwell or whoever it may be then that could knock one of Azpilicueta or James down a tier.
It’s pretty much impossible to fit all of Kovacic, Mount and Loftus-Cheek into one starting eleven but all three players offer different skill sets which are incredibly valuable to this Chelsea side. Mason Mount has been the club’s player of the season for me, his quality both on and off the ball is outstanding and to have contributed so much in his debut Premier League season is hugely impressive. He’s absolutely key to Frank’s system and therefore should and will start the majority of games next season wether we sign Havertz or not.
I honestly believe that a fully fit Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one of the best players in the Premier League. He’s the definition of ‘complete midfielder’ and can offer both a goal threat and be a creative outlet. His physical strength combined with immense technical ability when in full flight makes him a defender’s nightmare and if he can get back to his best next season then he has to be a starter.
Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi have both suffered injury problems as of late but are two of England’s brightest talents. Zouma and Tomori’s partnership in the first half of the season was far from perfect but was certainly the most encouraging central defensive set-up we’ve seen. Chelsea fans rightly love Hudson-Odoi and despite all of his off-the-pitch issues this season he has the quality to set the standard for young Premier League players next season.
Werner, Ziyech, Pulisic, Kantè. Is that the best “big four” since the Warriors lined up with Curry, Thompson, Draymond and KD?
Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are nailed on to be top, top players next season for Chelsea. They’re two of the most dynamic and exciting players in the Premier League and will improve Chelsea’s already strong attack ten-fold. Christian Pulisic’s form since the restart has all Blues fans convinced that he’s the real deal, adding goals to his game and beginning to remind fans of a certain Eden Hazard due to his immense dribbling ability. N’Golo Kanté’s inclusion as a star player needs no justification, despite injury issues this year he’s clearly a world class player who would start for any and every team in Europe.
So, that’s my personal ranking of next season’s Chelsea squad. Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know @TheChelseaSpot
*I (stupidly) forgot to include Ethan Ampadu in this tier list. Personally I’d like to see him as a squad player next season but he could benefit from another loan.