Premier League

Chelsea Pre Season Preview

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At the start of 2021, with many high profile signings yet to settle in and Chelsea sitting firmly in mid table, well of the title pace, Roman Abramovich showed no mercy to club legend Frank Lampard and showed him the door. He was replaced by former Borussia Dortmund and PSG manager Thomas Tuchel and that move proved to be inspired as he dragged Chelsea all the way to a Champions League triumph as well as a much improved league showing with Chelsea ending up in fourth spot. Keen to pounce whilst his team are on a high, Roman Abramovich has seemingly rolled back the years to his early days as Chelsea owner where he seemed willing to buy anyone and everyone if they were to give Chelsea a better chance of success. As an absolute minimum, with new blockbuster signings looking likely to come, their new signings from last year having gelled and with a genuine world class manager at the helm, a serious title challenge has to be a minimum requirement for Chelsea this time around.

Incoming Transfers

Chelsea are yet to sign anyone this window however they have a number of potential targets.

Erling Haaland- The blockbuster striker Chelsea are craving for. This deal seems to be looking less likely with Dortmund seemingly unwilling to sell. Next year he has a £64 million release clause in his contract so if he does stay at Westfalenstadion he is almost certain to depart next summer. With this release clause in mind it has been reported that a deal around £150 million will leave Dortmund with little choice to sell. Chelsea’s initial bid of cash plus Callum Hudson Odoi and/or ostracized Tammy Abraham was rejected and Chelsea are looking to raise funds by selling many fringe players to be able to afford this higher bid. Despite Thomas Tuchel’s admirable persistence with confidence struck Timo Werner last term, Haaland is that top striker Chelsea have missed since Diego Costa and Didier Drogba and could help Chelsea close the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool.

MALAGA, SPAIN – JUNE 06: Erling Haaland of Norway looks on during an International Friendly Match between Norway and Greece at Estadio La Rosaleda on June 06, 2021 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Federico Chiesa- The Juventus man’s stock has never been higher, having been a key component in Italy’s victory at the European Championships and even getting in the team of the tournament and this no doubt increased Chelsea’s interest in the Italian. As well as playing on the wing he has on occasion played as a right wing back in a back three which would be useful for Tuchel and Chelsea as that was the main formation Chelsea used under Tuchel last season. Juventus have reportedly turned down an £85 million pound bid and have told Chelsea that he wont be leaving under any circumstances.

Declan Rice- The West Ham and England star has allegdedly turned down two contract offers from West Ham and has asked to be informed of any bids for him. Chelsea showed a serious interest under Frank Lampard last year and it appears Thomas Tuchel is also a fan of the player with Chelsea looking at the England man.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Declan Rice of England in action with Bryan Cristante of Italy during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Outgoings

Olivier Giroud- It was confirmed today that after almost a decade in London at Arsenal and Chelsea, Giroud would be moving to Italy to link up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at AC Milan. With the French striker approaching the twilight of his career at 34 and only having a year to run on his deal, now seemed a perfect time to cash in and get him off the wage bill. His departure will only increase the chances of Chelsea purchasing a new striker whether that is Erling Haaland or someone else.

Tammy Abraham– Reportedly offered to Tottenham in recent days, the academy product who was a favourite under Frank Lampard, got very little game time under Thomas Tuchel and was often even left out of match day squads, even with the larger benches available last season. He was offered to Dortmund as make weight for Erling Haaland and it appears his future isn’t at Stamford Bridge. It has been reported that Arsenal are also interested in the England international, however a quoted £40 million asking price is perhaps putting off potential suitors, West ham were also known to be interested before they got wind of how much Chelsea wanted for the striker. As it stands Abraham’s most likely destination appears to be Villa Park where he had a loan spell in the 2018/19 season and it has been rumoured that Villa are willing to meet Chelsea’s £40 million asking price.

Tammy Abraham of Chelsea during the warm-up before the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Chelsea FC and FC Porto at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on April 13, 2021 in Seville, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Kurt Zouma- After being in in Frank Lampard’s first choice centre back pairing last term alongside Thiago Silva, the Frenchman was another victim of Thomas Tuchel’s arrival slipping behind Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilacueta and Andreas Christensen in Tuchel’s back three, and Chelsea are reportedly prepared to listen to offers for the 26-year-old. Zouma’s former manager Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen to bring the Frenchman to Rome but will have to part with around £25 million to get Zouma.

Loanees- Fringe players such as Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater and Michy Batshuayi after mixed loan spells away from the Bridge last term look likely to depart in an attempt to help raise funds for the likes of Haaland and Chiesa. The likes of Ross Barkley will likely be of interest to premier league clubs as he did demonstate in spells last year at Villa why he was so highly thought of when he was coming through at Everton.

Verdict

In my opinion Chelsea are a world class striker or signing Erling Haaland away from a serious title challange. It remains to be seen whether Tuchel will persist with the 3-4-2-1 formation which brought him much success last season or whether he alters to a back four. For all the qualities Timo Werner brings to the Chelsea front line with his pressing ability and movement off the ball, his finishing and goal scoring record was not good enough to imply he can be the main man for Chelsea next year. As for other attacking midfielders, Mason Mount really came into his own last season and Kai Havertz after a slow start to his Chelsea career really came into life towards the end of the season including scoring the winner in the Champions League final and Chelsea will have high hopes for the German in his second season. A top class centre back could be on the agenda especially if Chelsea move to a back four with Thiago Silva not getting any younger and Kurt Zouma potentially on his way out. If Chelsea get a Striker and a Centre back, I believe they could win the league, however I think more likely is another top four finish but with a serious title challenge this time around.

Chelsea fans what are your expectations for this year? Who are you hoping to sign and sell? Can you win the league?

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