Who could be heading towards the exit at Chelsea? And what are the areas in need of strengthening? Analysis, insight and opinion on what the Blues need to do in the transfer market this summer...
Tuesday 31 May 2022 11:29, UK
Which positions are Chelsea targeting in the summer transfer window? What has Thomas Tuchel said? And what do the stats say?
Sky Sports News' senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
Chelsea are pressing ahead with their summer recruitment plans now that the £4.25bn Todd Boehly-led consortium takeover of the club has been completed.
The Blues have a verbal agreement already in place with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, with the Spanish club preferring a quick deal as they aim to balance their books before June 30.
Talks on a deal for Kounde had collapsed last year but there is optimism from all parties it will get done this time.
Paris Saint-Germain's Presnel Kimpembe is part of a shortlist of central defensive options and is Thomas Tuchel's preference. Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez and RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol are also among those being looked at.
Chelsea like Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni but the expectation is he will end up at Real Madrid. PSV's Ibrahim Sangare is among the alternatives scouted.
Chelsea look like they have a lack of numbers at the centre-back position. Antonio Rudiger is moving to Real Madrid, Andreas Christensen to Barcelona and Cesar Azpilicueta is likely to depart as well.
The only remaining first-team centre-backs are Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah. The options don't inspire a lot of confidence for different reasons. Silva turns 38 in September, and Chalobah is still only 22 years old.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel speaking after the Blues' 2-1 win over Watford on the final day:
"We have clear ideas for the profiles and characteristics of these players. It is not like you put a name on the list and then you get the player.
"You have to convince the player, you have to speak to other clubs and convince yourself this is the player, so there is normally a lot of work and it will be the same to be competitive next season, while, like everybody else, tries to close the gap to us, while the two top teams are what they are. A benchmark of consistency.
"This is the situation and from there we do our very best to be competitive because this is what we want to be."
Sky Sports football journalist Joe Shread:
Given Chelsea were crowned European champions just 12 months ago, it's perhaps surprising to hear Thomas Tuchel talking of the need for a "rebuild" this summer, as he did after his side ended their season with a home win over Watford. But that Champions League triumph in 2021 came out of the blue - Chelsea were fourth in the Premier League that year - and this arduous campaign has exposed the issues in the head coach's squad.
While Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have been able to build squads to meet their specific demands, Tuchel has had to pull together a group of players signed by six different managers. With Todd Boehly now in charge, the time has come to back Tuchel and allow to him build his own squad capable of launching a title challenge for the first time since 2017.
The work must start in defence, where the departing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen must be replaced with two quality centre-backs. The time may also have come to replace Cesar Azpilicueta - a Chelsea legend but now 32 and reportedly keen on a return to Spain - with a more dynamic right-back. The Blues' reliance on Marcos Alonso - after Ben Chilwell's injury - cost them this season and with the left-back also said to be keen to go back to Spain, signing a replacement should be on the to-do list.
In midfield, decisions need to be made on the futures of N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, who are in their 30s and have just one year remaining on their contracts. Chelsea cannot allow them to go the same way as Rudiger and Christensen and leave for free, so must decide whether to offer them new deals this summer or let them go for a fee. Even if Kante stays, a younger option in the Frenchman's mould should be sought given the amount of time he has been unavailable in recent seasons.
Attack is the area of Chelsea's team that received the most investment in recent windows, but the Blues shouldn't be put off from looking to strengthen their goalscoring options if an opportunity presents itself. The last player to score 20 goals in a season for the club was Eden Hazard, and he left three years ago, so clearly there is room for improvement in that area.