Few of us can safely predict what will and will not work in the transfer window for Chelsea anymore.
Romelu Lukaku, by all logic, should have offered the clinical goalscorer Thomas Tuchel needed, but he wasn’t. Over £250m was spent by the new ownership in the previous summer and already the most cynical of supporters have condemned that splurge as a complete waste of time.
Whilst I cannot share the same nihilistic view of Chelsea’s new additions, the struggles on the pitch for all of them leads us down a path of complete confusion over what can be done next.
These are not bad players, but the collateral damage of frequent head coach changes and different styles of play has created a muddled idea. Chelsea have young players who are still developing, middling ones who are either not good enough or want to be elsewhere, and ageing names who should have been sold by now.
That mixture is not a pleasant one. It has caused an environment that has not been conducive to the perfect start to the season, leading eyes to look towards January and what Todd Boehly can do to solve the ongoing crisis and save a season spiralling into doom.
I personally am focusing on two areas in January. They are the big red alert areas that have been sounding the worry klaxon for some time. You don’t ignore that klaxon even if you may be lured by shiny superstars: don’t do it Todd, Cristiano isn’t worth it!
Central midfield and cover for Reece James on the right side of Chelsea’s defence are two positions that need care.
Midfield has been the weirdly overlooked problem for soo long it has become its own parody. It is astonishing that with the sheer number of millions spent since 2019 how little has gone towards such a vital area; one that I would argue is pretty defining in modern football.
Several Chelsea coaches have struggled to fix a balance issue based on limited options. You can no longer rely on N’Golo Kante’s fitness, doing so is a flawed strategy. Jorginho has already passed his peak at the club which came in 2021, now he looks sluggish and worn out. The lack of mobility and physicality from Jorginho has always been a big issue, one Thomas Tuchel wisely covered for some time by creating a system designed to protect him.
(Image: Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Chelsea will have to wait for Declan Rice, and he is absolutely worth waiting for. But that does not mean Chelsea can allow yet another window to pass by without action. Firstly, make a call on Kante and Jorginho. Are you offering them new contracts or not? I personally would not on either.
For the reasons I have just stated, this is a bad situation that the previous owner failed to rectify, Boehly has to be decisive here. Sacrificing Kante, who has been one of the club’s greatest-ever signings for £32m in 2016, is a major risk given the insane talent. But a revamp is needed.
I would either target Moises Caicedo from Brighton rather than look at Leandro Trossard. Caicedo would offer Potter a high-energy presence in the middle of the park, adding much-needed legs to an area that is regularly overrun.
Edson Alvarez offers an alternative from Ajax, albeit a slower and more set profile in a deeper area more akin to that of Nemanja Matic. The big concern for Alvarez is how he adapts to a quicker league albeit impressing in the Eredivisie. Ajax’s poor displays in the Champions League did not paint the midfielder in the best light, although he is clearly open to a switch to Chelsea.
In the other area, I’m looking at Jeremie Frimpong from Bayer Leverkusen. Having seen a lot of Leverkusen so far this season, once in person, mainly due to Callum Hudson-Odoi joining the Bundesliga club on loan, it is impossible to ignore the potential of Frimpong.
Still only 21, the Dutch right-back offers a raw blend of speed and trickery, showing little fear at taking on his opposing fullback. His skillset naturally len…