Players who could impress Thomas Tuchel in pre-season…

As reported by many and something we heard over a month ago, most of the Chelsea players begin pre-season tomorrow (5th July). We understand that the academy players are unaware of which building they will be training in as of now. Players such as Olivier Giroud and Kai Havertz who have just been knocked out of the EUROS competition will most likely have a longer break and not return to training this upcoming week, with the return date of players such as Ethan Ampadu being unknown.

In this article, we will look at some players who could feature in pre-season and potentially impress Thomas Tuchel. Obviously this doesn’t include all players, and some of these could head out of the club either on loan or permantly as they plan to have meetings with the club and manager in the next few weeks, but I’ve tried to talk about all the main ones.

Tiemoue Bakayoko

Ever since his 30 odd million move to Chelsea, it hasn’t been the best of times. In his first season he was struck with injury and although he had solid performances with Atletico Madrid and the FA Cup Final coming to mind, he also had disasterclasses such as that famous 4-1 loss to Watford.

He’s been on loan to Italy since, with the football there certainly suiting him a lot more. He’s had much better seasons at AC Milan and Napoli, with the latter liking him a lot. His agent has been talking plenty in the last few months, with him clearly trying to push a move to Italy this Summer.

Although, if things don’t go to plan, Bakoyoko could have a chance to impress Tuchel. If Declan Rice is seen as a too expensive option to the Blues, and we don’t go for our other targets such as Boubacar Kamara and Aurelien Tchouameni, the French midfielder is arguably the next best option for that defensive midfield profile which our squad is heavily lacking at the moment. Although it does look like he will be leaving the club, perhaps he may want to give it one final shot.

Lewis Bate

Lewis is someone who will almost certainly be going on loan this Summer, with many clubs being interested in the technical midfielder after two very impressive seasons in the academy. He’ll be looking to follow the likes of Levi Colwill who has already headed out to Huddersfield, and is following the path of many academy players who tend to leave on loan after they are ineligible to play in the FA Youth Cup.

He also does have a contract situation to sort out, with it running out next Summer. Chelsea would have to convince him to sign a new deal before leaving on loan, so that needs to be done as I’m sure many top clubs are also interested in him permanently.

He’s one who has trained with the first team this season for a few weeks under Lampard, and I’m sure he’d want to impress Tuchel too before going out on loan.

Michy Batshuayi

The forgotten man? Michy is arguably one of the best finishers at the club, but it just seems that his training isn’t good enough as called out by a couple of managers. It is frustrating since you can see the potential is there, but it just hasn’t worked out at Chelsea.

And neither has it at his Premier League loans, either. He had a nice spell at Dortmund, which perhaps could make the deal for Haaland 1% easier if they were interested in the Belgian forward, but other than that he has struggled. With the striker chase for Chelsea looking very difficult at the moment and with Giroud’s and Abraham’s future at the club in huge doubt, there could be a small chance he sticks around as the third striker.

Armando Broja

Armando is someone who’s development in the last two years has been one of the quickest I’ve ever seen. From going to a player who wasn’t even part of the U18s, to the next season starting for 6 months as the main striker at U23 level while making his Chelsea debut, and then heading out to Holland’s first division on loan the season after that, is incredible and huge praise should be sent to him.

His first loan at Vitesse was certainly a great one. He scored many goals and he would have learnt so much about the men’s game. However, I still believe there’s a lot more work he needs to do with his buildup and linking up play, although I have no doubt that this will certainly come with time and experience.

There have bee a few links of him sticking around and signing a new deal, so I guess we will have to see what Tuchel has in plan for the Albanian forward.

Tino Livramento

The man who is being talked about the most at the moment. With the club’s desire of a player like Hakimi who we missed out on as well as the possible pursuit of Adama Traore, that certainly wouldn’t have convinced the academy player of the season too much.

His contract runs out next Summer, and Chelsea will be desperate for him to sign that deal as he is very highly rated by the England camp and from clubs all across the world. Many have said ‘let him go out on loan’ which people are not realising is as easy as they are making out. Chelsea will not let him go out on loan unless he signs a new deal, and if we don’t show him any pathway into the first team then he simply won’t.

This pre-season is a big chance for him to show to Tuchel that he’s good enough for this squad, whether that’s this season or next. I’m sure he’s very much looking forward to pre-season as at it stands he’s the only proper RWB in the whole of the club available to Thomas, so he certainly has a chance. He’s definitely got a big month ahead.

Dujon Sterling

I kind of lied when I said Tino was the only RWB in the whole squad – Dujon is more than definitely still around. After returning from injury and illness, he played with the 23s for just less than 6 months and found himself impressing week in week out.

There have been a few small reports of him sticking around and Tuchel wanting to see what he can offer, so hopefully he’s ready to smash it. A new deal needs to be sorted though, so keep an eye on that.

Ethan Ampadu

A very very interesting one. With the profile desired, Ampadu could be the perfect player for Tuchel. Despite him being one of my favourite players, I have no doubt in saying that at this very moment he is behind the likes of Declan Rice in terms of ability, but if Chelsea want to save some money then he’s absolutely right there.

It has been reported that we are looking for a player who can play both in defensive midfield and centre back, hence the links to Boubacar Kamara and Rice, and that’s Ethan’s best two positions. Although in general his two loans have been a slight failure with him getting close to little game time at RB Leipzig and going down to the Championship with Sheffield United, he still has shown potential with the Champions League game against Spurs coming to mind and in general for Wales he’s great.

He’s another one to keep a very close eye on. In my personal opinion, he should definitely stick around this squad.

A chance for these two? (Image Source: Getty Images)

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley…it’s a weird one with him. Every pre-season he impresses and he looks like the next Frank Lampard, and not long later he looks like the next failed player who will be part of the ‘streets will never forget’ list.

He’s someone who could arguably play in that inside forward role or in midfield, so maybe he has a chance to impress Tuchel, but we’re going to need a lot more consistency from him and that comes from hard work on the training pitch.

Personally, I suspect him to leave on a permanent deal.

Trevoh Chalobah

A player who has definitely gone under the radar. He’s another one like Ampadu who can play in both positions of defensive midfield and centre half, so perhaps also has a chance to impress Tuchel.

He had a great loan at FC Lorient in the Ligue 1 where he would’ve gained so much experience playing against some of the best players in the world, and we all know the French league is extremely physical so in that sense he’d find the transfer over to Premier League easier.

I unfortunately suspect he may want to move on and kick on at a club permanently, but who knows these days. Maybe…

Marc Guehi

Another big talking point. Marc has done absolutely brilliantly out on loan at Swansea and most Chelsea fans have wanted to see how he does. Chelsea fans saw glimpses of him with very impressive games against Manchester United and Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup before he went on loan for 18 months, and ever since they have kept an eye on him.

It’s going to be difficult though. We currently have Thiago Silva who signed an extension till the end of this upcoming season, Andreas Christensen who is expected to sign a new deal some time soon, Antonio Rudiger who’s looked like a world class centre-back for 6 months, Kurt Zouma who could leave but reports have stated we will sign someone if that was the case, as well as Azpilicueta and Reece James who have both been used heavily at RCB too.

If Chelsea were to sign someone like Sule or Kounde though, then that would surely be over for Marc’s career at Chelsea and I’m sure he’s got the brains to move to another club. For him we need to show that there is a pathway into the first team and he’ll certainly want to impress Tuchel in these next few months.

Henry Lawrence

Since I mentioned Lewis, I thought I’d mention Henry very briefly too. Someone who has become too good for development squad now, he needs to look at playing professional football as with his such high footballing intelligence and versatility I’m sure many Championship and League One clubs will be looking at him.

Again, a player who Tuchel could actually like a lot with him switching between the 3 and 4 at the back formations. A few months ago when the first team was on international break, we were told that Henry trained with the first team and really impressed the coaches.

He should go on loan and get as much as a full pre-season as possible, but let’s see what happens.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

It’s hard not to get sad when thinking about Loftus-Cheek and what could’ve been. Under Sarri he was playing like he was one of the best midfielders in the world, and then that terrilbe injury happened in a game which many won’t forget…

Unlike most, I think his loan at Fulham was actually decently successful. Yes, at times he looked incredibly rusty, but that was always going to be the case and the most important thing was that he got minutes and time to get his fitness back.

Reports state that he’s a player who Tuchel is really looking forward to seeing in pre-season. It’s difficult, because I still think he needs another 6 months to get back to full confidence and ability, but whether he’ll get that is another thing. With better players around him perhaps he could perform better… I still haven’t given up all hope with RLC.

Tino Anjorin

Again, another sticky one. I think it’s very important he heads out on loan now and gets some professional football in his locker.

He’s arguably had a ‘season loan’ at Chelsea for one year after moving to the first team training permamently, and he certainly would have learnt so much working under Thomas Tuchel and Frank Lampard, as well as training against some of the best like Thiago Silva.

He’s at the age where he needs to get some minutes, and if he goes to a league like the Championship he could absolutely smash it. He even started one of our Champions League games out of position and impressed, so there’s no doubt with a good pre-season and gametime he could do very well. He’s shown Tuchel what he can do in training, and now he must show the world what the talented midfielder is about.

A big pre-season for these two… (Image Source: Getty Images)

Conor Gallagher

Again, on the first eye, Gallagher’s loan to West Brom may not have been great. But, he had a full year of Premier League experience and was definitely one of their brighter players.

I actually think he’s a player who Tuchel will really like a lot. He’s someone who runs about so much and has as much energy as Mason Mount, and is as versatile with him easily playing in the 8 and 10 role, and if worse comes to worse at the 6.

Tuchel could definitely see him as a very useful utility player and I’m sure if Conor was told he would be involved in a few Chelsea games this season, he could stick around. If he does go on loan, I greatly believe it should be to a Premier League team which play a much better way of football.

Do you agree with my comments? Is there any obvious one I’ve missed out on? Let me know on our social media platforms!

Written by Paree

The Striker Problem At Chelsea This Summer

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.

Written by Frankie

Podcast: Loan Roundup & Newcastle Preview w/@rramesss!

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) is joined by Recruitment Guru @rramess where they discuss how our players on loan have been doing, and they also preview tomorrow’s game against Newcastle United!

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Marco Van Ginkel : A career dampened with injuries

PSV Eindhoven have signed Chelsea outcast Marco Van Ginkel on a one year loan deal. Of what would be his fourth spell at the Dutch club and his eighth loan away from Chelsea, his strange career would be well different if the injuries had not hampered his growth.

Van Ginkel was welcomed at Chelsea with a lot of enthusiasm from Chelsea’s feeder club Vitesse. He was a midfield prospect who had similar playing style that of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard. It was only a matter of time that Van Ginkel would be a household name at SW6. Little did we know that a knee injury in a cup game against Swindon Town would turn his fortunes at the club.

Van Ginkel was ruled out for a substantial part of 2013/14 season. Despite returning to fitness in the latter part of the season, Van Ginkel was a sporadic player for the remainder of the season. The departure of Kevin De Bruyne in 2014 coupled with Oscar’s inconsistent performances meant that Van Ginkel could play an important role in the 2014/15 title winning season. However, with the arrival of Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona meant that Van Ginkel’s chances to shine at the club would be limited.

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Marco Van Ginkel had a decent start to life at Stamford Bridge. (Image Credit – Getty Images)

A decent season at AC Milan was followed by another spell at Stoke City. Van Ginkel failed make an impression during his short stint at the club and was later shipped out to his home land. A series of appearances in the Champions League along with clutch goals in PSV’s title winning campaign came as a positive news to Marco Van Ginkel who was certainly in contention to make his return to his parent club Chelsea in 2016.

Amongst other minor injuries, Marco Van Ginkel impressed in the Chelsea U23s where was playing to regain his match fitness. A drastic change in Chelsea’s playing style under Antonio Conte found Van Ginkel a surplus to Conte’s requirements which meant only one thing : Another loan at PSV Eindhoven. In the 2016/17 season, he was an important cog in PSV’s title defence. Unfortunately, it was Ajax which won the Eredivisie after a close title challenge with PSV and Feyenoord. Marco Van Ginkel’s performances in that season were impeccable and earned him another season at PSV.

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Van Ginkel played a massive part in PSV’s title winning seasons. (Credit – Getty Images)

Van Ginkel’s quality on the field coupled with his leadership earned him the captain’s armband at PSV who later won the title under his leadership. Another fruitful season at PSV was followed by a career threating injury. While it was almost certain that Van Ginkel will get his deserved break at Chelsea, his luck never favoured him. Out for the entirety of the 2018/19 season, questions were raised on his fitness and whether Chelsea should move him on.

After having a lengthy rehabilitation of two years following another destructive knee injury, Marco Van Ginkel signed a one-year extension at Chelsea. He is now joining PSV on loan for the fourth time in his career. While it is important for him to regain his form and fitness, it is extremely good to see him back on his feet!

Even though the Eredivisie is not as competitive as English Football, it will play an important role in Van Ginkel’s journey to full fitness. Having a decorated history of winning titles, PSV will definately benefit from the addition of Van Ginkel and Mario Goetze to the squad. It will be interesting to see whether these two players give PSV a much needed push for their title charge.

It is 2020 and Van Ginkel is finally back to his full fitness. One may say that he is a technical gem with a terrible luck. He’s Twenty-Eight and still in his prime, but it is safe to say that this might be his final year in the books of Chelsea. A technically-gifted player with a winning mentality, Marco Van Ginkel’s time at Chelsea is always going to be ‘What could’ve been’ instead of ‘What is’. Given that the circumstances were different, he would certainly be a world-class player at Chelsea. Chelsea really did have a Dutch Frank Lampard in their team. It is indeed a shame how injuries can ruin careers.

Can Returning Loan Army Soldiers Reinforce a Stellar Summer Window?

Chelsea have been the talk of the football world this summer following an extremely ambitious, decisive period of transfer signings. Over the past calendar year, the club welcomed Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic to the fold permanently, and followed that up with Hakim Ziyech putting pen to paper in the late winter just 3 months after THAT comeback against Ziyech’s Ajax. Of course, Frank Lampard and Co. then kicked off summer with a bang, bringing Timo Werner aboard and in recent weeks finishing off long-rumoured signings Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz as well as a cheeky Thiago Silva stop along the way. The club were put in a position to bring these players in however due to the impressive form of a handful of academy debutants, who played a major part in a 4th place finish. That was just the tip of the academy iceberg though, as this offseason we welcomed back another handful of young players loaned off to the far stretches of Europe. Can they have a similar impact to their counterparts and take Chelsea even further this year?

It’s no secret that Chelsea’s 2019-2020 campaign was impressive, but at the same time it was also unimpressive. The team regularly lacked a central defender with either positional awareness, aerial ability, the ability to actually make a tackle or all three – arguably bar Kurt Zouma. With Antonio Rudiger’s football agent talents on full display this summer, he is sure to have added another year onto his Chelsea lifeline at the very least despite the number of ghastly high profile errors he made last season. However, Rudiger’s friends Timo Werner and Kai Havertz aren’t the only talents coming from the Bundesliga to Chelsea.

Enter Ethan Ampadu, who for the third consecutive offseason has been pegged by Chelsea fans as a potential breakout star in defence and in midfield. This time however, Ampadu has yet again found himself out on loan, this season at Sheffield United with manager Chris Wilder running the show. Besides Ethan Ampadu in defence, returning are Jake Clarke-Salter and Matt Miazga. Who? The soon-23 year old and 25 year old center halves each made their senior debut in that 2015-16 season under Guus Hiddink, and only Miazga played in any senior Chelsea match since then (just one additional appearance). With 3 senior Chelsea appearances between them in 4 seasons, it’s probably a make or break time as the Loan Army XI is going to be welcoming some new faces. Miazga filled in for Cahill and Terry pretty admirably for a then 20 year old from the MLS, and Terry pegged the younger Clarke-Salter as his potential replacement and also remarked that he was a vocal player. While that could still happen, Clarke-Salter is now buried behind Zouma, Silva, Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and even Fikayo Tomori.

In addition to our defensive struggles, Frank Lampard has also had to battle with inconsistency in the midfield from time to time. With some ho-hum impact-less performances from Jorginho and N’golo Kante either injured or at times giving his best headless chicken, the base of the midfield is in a tepid situation at best. With this summer bringing about Declan Rice rumors, West Ham have been sure to protect their young star with a hefty rumored £80 million price tag. While Rice is a promising midfielder with the versatility to play at the back as well as the intangibles of a captain, the price tag does not suit a team who have already spent a fortune since the late winter while upgrading the team much more than Rice ever would. Chelsea might have better luck trying out other local options, which include the returning Tiemoue Bakayoko and Conor Gallagher, injury prone Ruben Loftus-Cheek or the recovering Billy Gilmour as understudies to either Kante or Jorginho. It seems highly unlikely that Frank Lampard would trust young midfielders to command the base of the midfield in such a promising and high pressure second season at Chelsea, although Conor Gallagher does have much more experience than the higher regarded Gilmour. Bakayoko isn’t a sexy option by any means and hasn’t always looked the part in a Chelsea shirt but hasn’t really played under tactics that fit his style. And, when comparing his 16/17 metrics to Rice’s 19/20, there isn’t a whole lot that separates the two. With the addition of Kai Havertz, a pivot of a more disciplined and refined Bakayoko and a healthy Kante could still be devastating to play against. With a move to Milan on the cards, he might not be seen in a Chelsea shirt again but I maintain that he’s at least worth a shot if he stays with us longer than anticipated. Additionally, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is more known for his power and offensive prowess, but giving him a try at the base of a midfield with some coaching might be a good move for him at this stage in his career in a bid to stay healthy and still play. The oft-injured midfielder would bring size and more technical ability than Kante and Jorginho combined and perhaps give Chelsea a little more kick in the final third, as well as someone who can win in the air and on the ground.

It’s been an exciting and also unnerving period for us fans after all the transfers and newly lofted expectations along with the uncertainty of some of the others on the current squad. However, it’s important to remember that even the greatest managers, such as our own Special One, and some of the greatest sides ever, never won without a little bit of experimentation along the way.

The Chelsea Spot Podcast #2 – Keep, Sell or Loan (Part 1)

Episode 2 – Keep, Sell or Loan (Part 1)

In our second episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Dan (Host – @danbarkzr), Orlando (@0rland1nho) and Lewis (@CFCLewis_) go through every single Chelsea player in the squad and give their opinion on whether they would keep, sell or loan the players.

In the second section of the podcast, Dan does a quiz with our two guests – find out who’s the winner!

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