Chelsea completed the 2021/22 Premier League campaign in a somewhat iffy manner. Although the Blues secured a top-four finish, they won no domestic trophies despite reaching the finals of both the league cup and the FA Cup and did not progress far enough in the Champions League either — underwhelming for a team who were expected to compete for the league title this season and fare well in the Champions League after winning the tournament last season.
It is fair for Chelsea fans to expect a far better season next time round and bridge the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City. As far as transfers go, the Blues might have a tricky time in the market given the players leaving the club this summer. One of Chelsea’s best players of last season, Antonio Rüdiger, is already off to Real Madrid, while his fellow centre-back Andreas Christensen is also on his way out. Furthermore, César Azpilicueta could also be on his way, leaving Chelsea short of defensive options. Keeping this in mind, the following are three players I believe Chelsea must sign during the 2022 summer transfer window.
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The priority for Chelsea is to reinforce the backline and make an attempt to replace Rüdiger. Koundé is not a new name for Chelsea fans. He was linked with a move to the club last year as well. This time around, though, Chelsea seem determined to get their man. The right-footed centre-back could slot in for Rüdiger in a similar role, playing as a left-sided centre-back. However, if Chelsea sign a left-wingback, they could utilise one of their many left-footed defensive players at the left centre-back position and allow Koundé to play on the right side of Thiago Silva.
Chelsea also have the option of playing Malang Sarr in the left-sided centre-back role and slotting Koundé on the right. Any which way, this would be a massive buy for Chelsea. Thiago Silva will be reaching 38 years of age this year, so fitness will be a worry for the Brazilian. Chelsea will surely have to snap up a few centre-backs during this summer, of which Koundé should be the primary target.
A key component that Chelsea lack is real creativity in their midfield. Although they play with limited players in midfield, those fielded in the role are simply not of the quality of other attacking midfielders in a creative sense. While N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho are incredibly good at playing the deep-lying midfielder role, Chelsea end up relying far too much on most of their play in the final third coming from their wide men. Having a slightly more creative option in the midfield, therefore, would bode well for them.
James Maddison is one option Chelsea should consider. His numbers have been good in the league: he scored twelve goals and provided eight assists this season. He could be just the player Chelsea would like to field beside Kanté, and I believe he would surely be an upgrade on Mateo Kovačić.
The Brighton & Hove Albion left-wingback is a potential option for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea. Cucurella had a brilliant debut season in the Premier League, and one should not be surprised to see bigger clubs coming after the Spaniard in near future.
Cucurella loves to venture forward as he often plays in a back-five for Brighton. He will be a suitable option given the fact that Tuchel too utilises a back-five. He would be a huge upgrade on Marcos Alonso and could serve as the right competition for Ben Chilwell for that spot at left-wingback.
Chelsea could also tweak things around by allowing Chilwell to play as the third centre-back with Cucurella as the left-wingback, a ploy that has been used on the right-hand side by Tuchel. Furthermore, Cucuella could be just the player Chelsea need on the left due to Chilwell’s injury concerns. Signing the player will, of course, not be easy, especially since Manchester City have their sights set on the Spaniard as well.