Chelsea has already completed two signings before the season kicks off. While there are still 30 days left in the transfer window, the Blues are more likely to end the summer period with what they have now, except some deals that have already been worked on. Chelsea finished in third place last season in what turned out to be bittersweet for the Blues’ faithful considering they got to two finals, but lost both, to the same opponent. Several players have left the club and even more are reliably linked with moves away. Andreas Christensen, Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Rudiger have already left the club. Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta, Malang Sarr, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are all linked with moves away from the club as we speak.
Many of the aforementioned individuals played a significant role for Chelsea last season, so with all these changes, what can a line-up look like come the new season when everything stabilizes?
Edouard Mendy (No. 16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
Edouard Mendy is obviously going to start the season as the first choice goalkeeper. Some fans that watched Chelsea’s behind-closed-doors game against the Udinese XI claimed that Kepa Arrizabalaga looked better in that game than Mendy did in the game against the Italian side the previous day. The fact that Arrizabalaga played in that game, and not the one the day before, should tell you everything you need to know about his place in the squad. There is nothing to look forward to in the goalkeeping department as the new season begins, as Mendy will be Chelsea’s first choice goalkeeper for at least the next three seasons.
Trevoh Chalobah (No. 14) Right center back, England
Trevoh Chalobah played with the Saturday XI in the game behind closed doors against Udinese. He is not the complete center back yet, but for the right center back role, he has many of the qualities Chelsea needs. He’s very quick and he has very good passing skills. He is still not good in the air, which might disqualify him from being a prime candidate in a back four. The Blues have been linked to Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana, but it’s difficult to see them getting anything done at this stage because of how close the new season is to kicking off. It’s also difficult to see Chelsea completing this deal at the reported £80 million.
Thiago Silva (No. 6) Centerback, Brazil
Thiago Silva was Chelsea’s most consistent defender last season, both in performance and availability. Silva was also the Blues’ best defender—and it wasn’t particularly close either. Yes, he turns 38 years old this September, but he is still one of Chelsea’s best players, which perhaps is not an entirely positive thing. As things stand right now, Silva is set to not just start the season for Thomas Tuchel’s side, but also be a staple in the squad.
Kalidou Koulibaly (No. 26) Left center back, Senegal
Kalidou Koulibaly is reported to be on a base salary of around £200,000 per week. This means that he will definitely be a key man for Chelsea this season. The Senegalese centerback should be expected to start whenever he’s fit. The short way of putting it is that you cannot construct a starting XI that doesn’t have Koulibaly in it this season. Apart from his price tag and wages, Koulibaly is an excellent defender and distributor. Rudiger was a huge part of the Blues’ starting XI under Tuchel, as he played the most minutes and the most games since the German manager arrived. Someone needed to play that role for Chelsea, Koulibaly is in a perfect position to do so.