Chelsea

Chelsea will start their 2022-23 Premier League campaign by taking on Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, July 6. The Blues began the summer transfer window by playing catch-up due to a change in ownership.

Although they did sign Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly from Manchester City and Napoli respectively last month, Todd Boehly and Co. have hit a few bumps.

While their targets Jules Kounde and Raphinha signed for Barcelona, another one of their potential recruits, Ousmane Dembele, decided to extend his stay at the Camp Nou.

Chelsea have also struggled to offload players, with inflated wages making it hard to find takers.

On that note, here are five positions the Blues will have to strengthen this summer.

#1 Goalkeeper

Chelsea currently have Edouard Mendy, Kepa Arizzablaga, and Marcus Bettinelli in their ranks, but could be in the market for a new second-choice goalkeeper.

Kepa is looking to leave Stamford Bridge in search of regular playing time, with Napoli interested in securing his services, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

The Blues were interested in former Lazio custodian Thomas Strakosha (as per Metro), but he has since signed for Brentford.

Talk of any potential incomings in the goalkeeping position has gone quiet, but Kepa’s possible departure could reignite the search.

The club might need to find a goalkeeper who can challenge Mendy, but will also be happy to sit on the bench.

#2 Right-sided centre-back

At the moment, Chelsea’s centre-back options are Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly, Trevoh Chalobah, and Malang Sarr.

Thomas Tuchel had to be creative in pre-season and play Reece James, Ethan Ampadu, and Emerson in the back-three system.

The Blues are running out of options in this position, with Azpilicueta being linked with a move to Barcelona (as per Metro). So, signing a centre-back is of paramount importance.

Get French Football News recently reported that Chelsea had a bid rejected for Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana. The London outfit could make another bid for the young French defender, and a fee in the region of £70-£75 million could convince Leicester to sell Fofana.

#3 Full-back

The potential departures of Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso would also leave Chelsea shorthanded in the full-back position.

James and Ben Chilwell are currently the two preferred full-backs. But Chilwell will take time to get back to full fitness after injuring his ACL last November. Both defenders also need cover, and according to Football.London (via Simon Phillips), Joakim Maehle is a target for Chelsea.

Maehle has been at Atalanta for 18 months and can play on either flank as a full-back or a wing-back. He would provide the perfect cover for both players.

Maehle’s current contract with Atalanta runs until 2025. Chelsea will have to make a convincing bid if they want to make the Italian giants part ways with the versatile defender.

#4 Central defensive midfielder

Chelsea have not had a traditional defensive midfielder since Nemanja Matic left for Manchester United in 2017.

Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, and Matteo Kovacic provide plenty of quality and grit, but none of them are sitters who can defend the back four.

Ethan Ampadu has impressed during pre-season, and if the club don’t sign a defensive midfielder, he could feature more prominently in the upcoming season.

It is no secret that Chelsea’s priority target in this position is West Ham United’s Declan Rice, but the Hammers rate him very highly (as per Pete O’Rourke via Give Me Sport).

#5 Forward

While Chelsea did manage to sign Sterling, they missed out on Raphinha, who joined Barcelona from Leeds United. The Premier League giants were also interested in Dembele, but the Frenchman signed a new deal with Barca.

While Timo Werner has been linked with a return to RB Leipzig by BILD, Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Christian Pulisic have flattered to deceive at Stamford Bridge.

The likely scenario is that two of the four aforementioned players will leave the club in August. As of now, it does look like Pulisic is the likeliest to stay, while Ziyech has also impressed in pre-season.

The Blues first need to offload players before bringing in someone new, with Burnley’s Maxwel Cornet on their radar.

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