Chelsea’s 2021/22 season has come to a close after 63 grueling matches. The Blues ended on a high note with a 2-1 victory over Watford, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows around SW6 this season.
The ‘aftermath’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, injury issues and general fatigue saw Thomas Tuchel’s team bow out of the Premier League’s title race in January, much earlier than anticipated. These circumstances also highlighted the glaring need for reinforcements as the harsh reality set in that Chelsea’s depth is not anywhere near as good as previously advertised.
This—along with numerous pending departures—sets the stage for a massive summer ahead. The takeover of the Blues is nearing its completion, which means that Marina Granovskaia, Petr Cech, Todd Boehly and Tuchel can all work together to bring in some suitable replacements. Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger’s exits mean that the defense needs some fresh faces, but the midfield is also long overdue for a complete makeover.
Chelsea-linked midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni has decided on his future
Unfortunately, a midfield overhaul is seeming less and less likely with each passing day. One of the midfielders that the Blues have reportedly had their eye on for the last few years, Aurelien Tchouameni, has made a decision regarding his future. He will be joining up with fellow generational midfield talent Eduardo Camavinga at the Santiago Bernabeu. Tchouameni has already communicated with his current Monaco teammates that he is prepared to make his dream move to Real Madrid in the upcoming transfer window.
This is a huge blow to Tuchel and his staff as they’re set to miss out on another talented prospect. It goes without saying there will never be a shortage of options in the transfer market, but the Blues are seemingly running out of ideas as each top class target gets poached by competitors. Chelsea is heading into a pivotal period where the wrong move could prove costly in the race to catch up to Liverpool and Manchester City. Missing out on Tchouameni is not a great way to kick off the summer transfer window.
The frustration in this situation stems from choices made last summer. Of course, the Blues were always going to lose a bidding war in the present day due to the sanctions currently placed on the club by the British government. Chelsea balked on the opportunity to sign Tchouameni last summer for one reason or another, despite pleas of former midfield magician and current Tchouameni teammate Cesc Fabregas.
Instead, the Blues spent months bothering Dortmund about Erling Haaland, despite constant denial and pushback, eventually prying Romelu Lukaku away from Inter Milan for a club record £97.5 million. This left them scrambling on the final days of the window, only to be left with a loan move for Atletico Madrid outcast Saul to show for their efforts. The Spaniard was a massive disappointment this season, a fact that only serves as a cruel reminder as to what could have been at Stamford Bridge.
Now, Chelsea will have to go back to the drawing board. While Real Madrid has its midfield pairing for the next decade, the Blues need to sort out their personnel issues. N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are both entering the final years of their deals, and with both being over 30 already, it’s easy to imagine that one—if not both—of them will depart in the coming months. For Tuchel’s sake, Chelsea cannot realistically afford to sit idly by as its rivals strengthen the core of their teams. The Blues need new, younger and more dynamic midfielders if they want to succeed at any level next season. Tchouameni is officially off the board, so where they turn next is important.
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