Chelsea’s huge squad
Since Thomas Tuchel took the reins at Chelsea, the Blues have been completely transformed.
Under Frank Lampard, the Londoners were floundering, with the thought of securing Champions League football for the forthcoming campaign looking seemingly more ludicrous with each passing week.
However, under Tuchel’s tutelage, Chelsea are now firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish, currently sitting in 4th spot, just three points adrift of 3rd.
The Blues have also remained unbeaten in eleven outings across all competitions since the German came to Stamford Bridge, conceding just two goals in the process.
So, whilst Chelsea are no doubt extremely excited to see what Tuchel can do in a full campaign, the former PSG man still has some big decisions to make ahead of 2021/22.
This, of course, comes with Chelsea in possession of one of the biggest squads in the Premier League at present.
Frank Lampard was unable to deal with their huge squad, and a case could be made that his need to squeeze marquee signings, such as Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, into his system played a part in his downfall in West London.
And though Tuchel has obviously enjoyed a lot of success since swapping Paris for England, it is already clear that he too simply cannot accommodate all of the players currently on Chelsea’s books.
Tammy Abraham – despite still currently being Chelsea’s leading goalscorer this term – has been used sparingly under Tuchel, and is yet to complete more than 45 minutes in the PL.
Other big names, such as Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, are also struggling for regular minutes, whilst academy product Billy Gilmour is yet to feature in the league under Chelsea’s new boss.
All of these issues come with a number of senior Chelsea stars currently out on loan for the remainder of the current campaign.
So, it is quite clear that when the summer window roles around, Chelsea are going to have to offload at least a few players.
And at 101, we have made a list of five stars Chelsea should look to move on this summer.
The first player the Londoners should look to move on is Ross Barkley.
Barkley joined Chelsea in January of 2018 for a reported £15m.
However, the Englishman, under several different managers, has never been able to carve out regular first-team football at the Bridge.
Barkley is also a fairly attack-minded midfielder. So, in Tuchel’s current system, it is quite hard to see where the 27-year-old fits in.
Barkley is unlikely to do too well in the deeper midfield roles, reversed for players like N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and perhaps Gilmour.
That would, in theory, leave just the two wider roles behind whoever is playing up top.
But here in lies one of Chelsea’s bigger issues. In two positions, all of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount and sometimes Callum Hudson-Odoi are vying it out for two spots.
And even if one of Werner or Havertz is played centrally in a game, that is still already more than enough attackers, making Barkley very much surpluses to requirements if Tuchel persists with his current system.
But in Barkley, Chelsea have a fairly valuable asset they can cash in on. His stint at Aston Villa has proven he is still a decent purchase for a mid-table Premier League side.
He is also English, and at 27, has a number of good years left in him. So, given Chelsea only paid £15m for him, they shouldn’t have too much of an issue finding a suitor for a similar fee.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is very much in a similar situation to Ross Barkley.
Even under Frank Lampard, Loftus-Cheek could not be guaranteed the regular minutes a player returning from a big injury needed, hence his loan to Fulham.
Much like Barkley, should RLC return to Stamford Bridge in the summer, he too will be competing with all of the aforementioned stars for regular football.
And though the Chelsea faithful may still be holding out hope that their academy star can return to the club and finally become a first-team regular, that ship – especially since the arrivals of Werner, Havertz and Ziyech – does look to have sailed.
Once again, though, the 25-year-old Englishman whose contract runs until 2024, is likely to fetch a decent sum in the upcoming transfer window if Chelsea do look to move him on.
Our next pick is one of the more obvious choices and you would imagine he will be one of the first names out the door in the summer.
Emerson Palmieri joined Chelsea from AS Roma in January of 2018 for around £18m.
However, the full-back has since garnered just 66 appearances in all competitions, failing to cement a regular spot under all of Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri, Frank Lampard and now, Thomas Tuchel.
The 26-year-old has made just 11 appearances this season, only one of which – in the FA Cup vs Barnsley – came under Tuchel.
So, with Marcos Alonso and then Ben Chilwell Tuchel’s go-to left-back options, plus the fact Emerson will have just one year left on his contract in the summer, selling the Italian in the next window does seem like a no brainer.
Antonio Rudiger has actually revived his Chelsea career under Thomas Tuchel, starting every PL game under the German barring the win over Everton on Monday.
So, moving him on may seem like a slightly odd move. However, one of Chelsea’s more populated areas of the squad is at centre-back.
Even with Tuchel playing a back-three, Chelsea still have Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Fikayo Tomori (when he returns from his loan with AC Milan), to choose from.
The Blues are also, somewhat bizarrely, seemingly in the market for another centre-half this summer.
So, that likely means at least one of their current defenders will be moved on in the summer.
Given his age, Silva would seem like the obvious choice. However, Tuchel may be keen to keep one of his trusted former players, who has already proven he can still do it in the English top-flight, around next season. Silva would also leave for free in the summer, making Chelsea no money.
Rudiger, on the other hand, at 28, will still fetch a half-decent fee. The German will also enter the final year of his contract in the summer. And if he doesn’t sign a new deal, Chelsea would obviously lose him for free in the next year.
Of course, if Milan do activate the reported €25m purchase option they have with Tomori, then Rudiger would probably need to stay put. But surely Chelsea fans would rather have the much younger, more promising, English academy product on their books?
Our final pick is likely to be the most controversial. But as already detailed above, Chelsea have a surplus of attacking options.
Even if Barkley and Loftus-Cheek are moved on, the Blues still have Werner, Havertz, Pulisic, Ziyech, Mount and Hudson-Odoi to pick from in two positions.
This, again, has already led to both Pulisic and Ziyech becoming marginalised members of the side.
Tuchel is yet to hand Pulisic more than 45 minutes of action in any game in the Premier League, whilst Ziyech hasn’t featured in five of the Blues’ nine league games under his new boss.
So, if Chelsea are looking to trim their squad, it would make sense to sell one of the aforementioned duo.
And though both could easily make way, Pulisic, at 22 and with reported interest from several top clubs, is likely to be the easier to sell/would fetch more money.
This article was edited by Robert Fosterman.
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