Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Marc Cucurella, who will be the third major signing
for the men’s first team. This comes days before they open their Premier League campaign
with a trip to Goodison Park, which begs the question; have they done enough?
The announcement that confirmed the sale of Chelsea FC was released on the 30 th of May
and since then, co-owner, Todd Boehly was taken a hands-on approach to his new
acquisition ahead of his debut campaign. However, perhaps operating a summer transfer
window was more of a challenge than Boehly anticipated with certain enquiries not panning
out as smoothly as expected.
The dismissal of Marina Granovskaia, who won the award of Best Club Director in European football at the Golden Boy awards, has clearly made an impact on the untypical movements from the Chelsea board within this summer’s transfer
window. Marina, as she was more commonly referred too as, was a notoriously tough negotiator and understood the market expertly. Boehly’s team are still digesting the fundamental differences in the football transfer market which is providing evident with the failure to complete simple deals and the attempts to secure ex-Liverpool director of football, Michael Edwards as an addition to the board.
Having said this, Chelsea have made two excellent signings in the shape of Raheem Sterling
and Kalidou Koulibaly who are two immediate improvements in the squad whilst coming at
more than reasonable prices. Boehly and co can certainly take credit for their cunning
approach to both deals having both wrapped up speedily and with excellent compromise.
Chelsea are also expecting a third signing in the shape of Marc Cucurella, who is tipped to
put pen to paper this week, though expect the unexpected when it comes to Chelsea this
summer, Cucurella may just end up signing for Barcelona any moment from now. The
spending doesn’t stop here, however, with Chelsea in the market for another centre back,
midfielder, back up right wing back and an additional forward. All of which positions may
not be addressed this summer, in all reality.
On top of incomings, Chelsea must prioritise outgoings before the conclusive hour of the
transfer window on the 1 st of September. Many players who are considered dead wood by
the club are having to look for new homes as Chelsea face pressure to relieve numbers from
their incredibly bloated squad. Tuchel is in favour of a smaller squad and its clear to see why
with so many high quality professionals fighting for eleven places each matchday. This
would likely cause severe unrest in the dressing room.
With all that being said, how will Chelsea fare next season and can they better what they
achieved last season? Truth be told, Chelsea’s squad does look different to last seasons with
new signings and the promotion of youth players returning from successful loan seasons. It’s
difficult to make clear cut predictions without the knowledge of how the remaining month
of the transfer window will go but it is difficult to be overly optimistic about term ahead.
Chelsea did struggle in preseason, though it’s important not to take preseason too seriously.
However, Tuchel’s side still showed signs of the same old issues prevailing once more. The
laboured and predictable build up play to the oppositions final third, the appalling execution of chances, the desperate lack of creativity, all themes that presented themselves in this years tour of America.
Last season, Chelsea started the campaign looking unbeatable following their triumph on
Europe’s biggest stage. Tuchel’s army marched forth playing like the Champions of Europe
and found themselves top of the league turning into December. So how did this fizzle into
an overly disappointing campaign and will it happen again? Chelsea’s severe lack in squad
depth cost the team going into the busiest month as December exposed the tired legs of a
COVID infested outfit who was ordered to play on. The season long injury of Ben Chilwell
ensured Marcos Alonso assumed the left wing back role but proceeded to display a feeble
attempt to replicate Chilwell’s mastery and brilliance he had shown throughout the season
and the season before. The prospect signing of Cucurella ensures Chelsea can boast two
exceptional left wing backs as Chilwell returns from his serious injury. Squad depth is also
improved this year round with academy players such as Connor Gallagher, Armando Broja
and potentially Harvey Vale coming into the first team picture.
Tuchel insisted last season that he needed his forwards to make their positions in the
starting eleven their own as Chelsea’s offensive woes continued for yet another year. It is
difficult to breed a formidable offence without consistency, both from the individuals and
the selections. Tuchel may have found his from three, at last. With the departure of Romelu
Lukaku, the pressure to play him departs also. New signing Raheem Sterling showed
promise of being Chelsea’s most cultured forward who will line up next to two-time Chelsea Player of the Year, Mason Mount. As for the third player, Kai Havertz showed flashes of
brilliance within patches of form and although he has not had a particularly impressive preseason, his cohesiveness alongside the other two names in Chelsea’s last preseason match against Udinese may just earn him the nod for the opportunity to make that position his own.
The landscape of the Premier League has once more improved with clubs such as
Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United all strengthening bellow Chelsea. Towards the
end of last season, the blues were once again dragged into another top four scrap after
coming from a comfortable position in third. Chelsea can not afford to trail of again this
term, if they do they can expect to finish in the sorry lands of 5 th and 6 th . The Leagues
improvement has not just come from bellow 3 rd either with both Liverpool and Manchester
City adding to their already untouchable teams. This confirms that any rogue shouts for a
title charge can confidently be put to bed, a vast difference to the feeling one year ago.
So what can Chelsea fans actually expect from the season ahead? Without blind optimism,
it’s safe to assume Chelsea may struggle if key weaknesses aren’t addressed. They must
learn how to score goals consistently, not fall into patches of lazy form and turn up when it
matters the most. Outside of the league, the cups may be a good opportunity for silverware
especially to set the record straight for the new regime. Chelsea have an excellent record in
the FA Cup, until they reach the final, and the League cup run was equally encouraging. The
recent record in domestic finals has been appalling and is a run that needs to be put right,
especially when teams are there for the taking like Liverpool had been last season. This is
where the squad’s personality is tested, who can be a Drogba esc leader who will get the
club over the line? This rhetorical question needs answering.
League Finish: 4 th
Trophy count: 1 (FA Cup)
UCL Finish: Semi-Finals
Top Scorer: Raheem Sterling (11 in the league, 15 in all competitions)
CFC Player of the Year: Reece James