The transfer window has not even been open for 48 hours but already a steady throng of players have been linked to Chelsea since the end of the season. There is no doubting the Blues need to be active with a squad rebuild being necessary, or that their job has been made more difficult by the special license they were required to operate under until Todd Boehly’s takeover was completed.
The departments of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have amplified the pressure on Thomas Tuchel to reinvigorate his backline, while the center of midfield has issues that need to be resolved, particularly with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho entering the final year of their deals. Those issues not withstanding, there is also the prospect of a number of other figures leaving with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso linked with moves to Spain, while if Chelsea hope to strengthen further up the pitch, they may need to decide that a winger also needs to leave to create room.
It’s little wonder that Tuchel had no plans to immediately go on holiday declaring it ‘impossible’ and highlighting the importance of sharing opinions to move forwards into the summer months. The German coach acknowledged following the final match of the season that some work had been completed in identifying targets, but they were behind in comparison to their rivals.
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Tuchel said: “We want to stay in the race and Liverpool and Man City do everything to make their squads bigger and they set the standard so high. This is the challenge in which we compete.
“We have at the moment a huge disadvantage [because of the sanctions] – but that’s not decisive yet. There is no need to make excuses now, it is just the situation we are in and we have to be as quick as possible. Right now, of course, it is unsatisfying because our hands are tied and we cannot act as we want.
“We have clear ideas for the profiles and characteristics of these players. But it’s not like we put a name on the list, and then we get the player. We have to convince the player, speak to their clubs, and convince ourselves this is the player [we need].
“So there is normally a lot of work, and it will be the same to be competitive next season while everyone else tries to close the gap to us. This is the situation and from there we do our very best to be competitive because this is what we want to be. “
Already Manchester City have acquired the services of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez, while Liverpool have picked up Fabio Carvalho from Fulham, and their January move for Luis Diaz certainly seemed a step in a forward direction with only half the season gone. Chelsea have remained unable to bring any new players of their own in, despite long-term links to the likes of Jules Kounde and Ousmane Dembele.
However, only 12 days have passed since Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital and the rest of the consortium took the reins at Stamford Bridge and there is no doubting that there has been a significant list of tasks to work through. Meetings have taken place to debate the future direction of the club, transfer budgets discussed, and Premier League meetings attended with little time for the new ownership to find their feet. Tuchel has even said to have been given greater say over the direction of the recent transfer business.
While ownership have been in place for less than two weeks, that also means that Chelsea have been able to operate without sanctions for the same period of time. Many things have been able to actioned with immediate effect, but in the case of transfers there are a number of parties to get on board. Nevertheless the intention is there.
Emma Hayes has seen contracts extended in her Super League-winning squad, in addition to two statement signings in the hopes of landing a Champions League title in the future. Business will clearly be done quickly when the opportunity is there to do so. The men’s side have shown their plans are underway in the first team too with the revelation of their retained and released lists, providing another deadline the club had to hit.
In an ideal world some transfer business may have been completed for Tuchel, but there is still time for business to be complete before the squad return for pre-season on July 2nd, and a number of irons in the fire.