How Chelsea could line up next season with Raphinha on the way and Raheem Sterling wanted


The new ownership regime at Chelsea has wasted no time in making their mark on the club and overhauling the squad under Thomas Tuchel.

New chairman Todd Boehly promised to invest in the side and he looks to be putting his money where his mouth is as the Blues are currently linked to a raft of new players in the summer transfer window. 

With some big departures having already taken place – Romelu Lukaku, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen – Tuchel desperately needs reinforcements at the back. 

Tuchel has a vast shopping list of players to rebuild his Chelsea squad

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly (left) has promised to back Thomas Tuchel (right) on transfers

Chelsea have made waves with a £60million deal agreed for Leeds' Brazilian forward Raphinha

Chelsea have made waves with a £60million deal agreed for Leeds’ Brazilian forward Raphinha

But the German is also looking to sharpen his attack and bounce back from the failed Lukaku experiment, with Raphinha on his way to Stamford Bridge and others also in the frame.   

Here, Sportsmail looks at how a new Chelsea could-line up next season and make a serious bid for the Premier League title with some club stalwarts missing out.

GOALKEEPER

Arguably the most settled position across the entire Chelsea first team. Despite the Blues failing to match their defensive supremacy in the second half of the 2020/21 season when Tuchel arrived, Edouard Mendy has firmly ensconced himself as the No 1 goalkeeper. 

Edouard Mendy's position as Chelsea's No 1 arguably the most secure spot in the first team

Edouard Mendy’s position as Chelsea’s No 1 arguably the most secure spot in the first team

Kepa Arrizabalaga has made no secret of his desire to get more game time and a loan move is in the offing, so Mendy’s position looks even safer. 

The remaining understudy is Englishman Marcus Bettinelli, whose best hope is potentially some minutes on the pitch in the Carabao Cup or dead-rubber Champions League group games. 

DEFENDERS

This is undoubtedly the area of most upheaval for Tuchel, with several first-team players having left the club. 

Antonio Rudiger, who had a fantastic season, has joined Real Madrid for free while Andreas Christensen has also left Stamford Bridge to move to Barcelona for nothing. 

Chelsea's best defender last season, Antonio Rudiger, has joined Real Madrid on a free transfer

Chelsea’s best defender last season, Antonio Rudiger, has joined Real Madrid on a free transfer

Questions remain over the futures of captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, both of whom are also being linked to Barca.

As such Chelsea have been linked to almost every available defender on the market, but some deals appear closer to fruition than others. The club’s long-running pursuit of Sevilla’s Jules Kounde remains a strong possibility.

The Blues are also racing to sign Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt, and are so keen that they have offered both Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner as makeweights in any deal. 

Together with Thiago Silva, that would make a powerful new central defensive unit, with England internationals Reece James and Ben Chilwell cemented in their roles as attacking full-backs on either flank and Trevor Chalobah as back-up. 

Jules Kounde has long been linked to a move to Chelsea

Tuchel is also working hard to bring Matthijs De Ligt to the club

Jules Kounde (left) and Matthijs De Ligt (right) are both top of Chelsea’s defender wishlist

Given the paucity of defensive options though, Tuchel may look to strengthen further. Chelsea are also linked to Nathan Ake and Oleksandr Zinchenko at Manchester City, Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar and Kalidou Koulibaly at Napoli. 

MIDFIELD

Despite news of Jorginho being heavily linked with a move back to Italy, Tuchel is more than well stocked in the middle of the pitch for this not to be a glaring concern.

N’Golo Kante remains imperious and critical to how Tuchel’s side play, and is one of the best in the world in his position. The question becomes who partners him. 

Tuchel has plenty of midfield options to partner nailed-on starter N'Golo Kante in the first team

Tuchel has plenty of midfield options to partner nailed-on starter N’Golo Kante in the first team

The man in possession is Matteo Kovacic, a regular in the first-team squad last season who rotated in midfield with Jorginho ad Kante. Ruben Loftus-Cheek finished the season strongly when called upon and may expect a bigger role next season. 

Tuchel continues to keep faith in Billy Gilmour, whose contract has been extended, while Conor Gallagher has returned to Chelsea following an eye-catching loan spell at Crystal Palace. Ross Barkley is also still on the books at Chelsea, meaning they have reinforcements galore. 

ATTACK

This is where Tuchel has almost too many options, and some big name players are set to miss out. Lukaku has gone, and it seems both Werner and Pulisic have been deemed surplus to requirements, so they can be discounted. 

On top of signing Raphinha, Chelsea are close to agreeing a £55m deal for Raheem Sterling

On top of signing Raphinha, Chelsea are close to agreeing a £55m deal for Raheem Sterling

The hijacking of Raphinha from Arsenal for £60million is a huge statement, and that price tag would suggest Tuchel is keen to make him a first-team regular. 

The Brazilian’s arrival has not stopped Chelsea making a play for Man City’s Raheem Sterling, and a £55m deal is close to being agreed. These new signings narrow the field once again, with two of three spots in attack taken. 

Who claims the final place? Hakim Ziyech has failed to make a lasting impression and seems fit to continue making cameos from the bench. Most people had forgotten Kenedy was even a Chelsea player until a rare glimpse of him at the end of last season. 

Kai Havertz looks the most likely to start in attack with Raphinha and Raheem Sterling

That would mean home favourite Mason Mount missing out

Mason Mount (right) could lose his first-team place with Kai Havertz (left) in better form

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been down the pecking order for some time, picking up minutes often playing out of his preferred position. Thus it comes down to fan favourite and England international Mason Mount, or German superstar Kai Havertz. 

Mount had something of an indifferent season, failing to make the impact that made him a nailed-on starter for both Tuchel and Gareth Southgate the previous season. Havertz, however, has reinvented himself as a No 9 after Lukaku’s failure, and looks to be going from strength to strength. 

Raphinha and Sterling interchanging and running off Havertz is a tantalising prospect, so Mount will just have to bide his time to regain his first-team position.  

59664431 10964695 image a 30 1656499760592



Source link