Chelsea, Todd Boehly, Mauricio Pochettino, summer transfer window, Moises Caicedo, Neymar, Romeo Lavia
Who knew that spending seemingly unlimited cash without regard for proper squad building would lead to suboptimal results? The Chelsea FC brass, after a wild £600 million spending spree over the past two transfer windows, had to learn this lesson the hard way; despite splashing the cash for the likes of Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Noni Madueke this past January, the Blues finished the 2022-23 Premier League campaign with their worst points tally in 34 years with 44 (11 wins, 11 draws, 16 losses).
Perhaps Chelsea, after not receiving the most bang for their buck over the past two transfer windows, would err on the side of caution this time around. But given the potential squad clear out brought forth by newly-appointed manager Mauricio Pochettino, the Blues may have no choice but to write blank checks once again to restore the club back to its former glory.
With the likes of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang likely to give way, the Blues will have plenty of spots in the first team squad that would be up for grabs. Joao Felix also looks like he’ll be returning to Atletico Madrid after an uneven loan spell in Stamford Bridge, so bringing in yet another attacker alongside the incoming Christopher Nkunku could be a priority once again.
Meanwhile, the Blues are also in dire need of midfield help; with Mount, Kovacic, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s departures looking likely, not to mention N’Golo Kante’s potential move to Saudi Arabia, Chelsea will have to purchase a new spine for their midfield alongside Enzo.
With those areas of need in mind, these are the 3 players that Chelsea must target in the summer transfer window to facilitate a bounce-back 2023-24 campaign.
Moises Caicedo, the 21-year old Ecuadorian midfielder currently playing for Brighton and Hove Albion, will have no shortage of suitors this summer. Caicedo was instrumental in the heart of Brighton’s midfield during their impressive 62-point campaign that resulted in a Europa League berth. Not only was he rock-solid in protecting the Seagulls’ defense, able to read attacking passages of play well in addition to his exemplary tackling skill, but he also showcased impressive passing range playing out of the back.
With N’Golo Kante, the Blues’ longtime ball-winning midfielder, set to leave the club, there might not be a better replacement for him than Caicedo. Caicedo isn’t quite in Kante’s level yet as a ball-retriever as well as a presser, but the tools are there for the Brighton midfielder to reach that level — or perhaps even surpass it, seeing as he’s only 21 years of age.
The worry for Chelsea is that other clubs that could offer Moises Caicedo European football — such as Arsenal — are also in for the talented Ecuadorian. If the terms are similar, it’s difficult to imagine Caicedo spurning the chance to play for a Champions League side.
But Chelsea has beaten Arsenal to the punch in a heated transfer pursuit in the past — cough, Mykhailo Mudryk, cough. Thus, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they beat the Gunners to Caicedo’s signature as well.
Randal Kolo Muani
Chelsea has been linked to a potential transfer for Neymar; Neymar, as we all know, is one of the most talented players in world football. But the 31-year old attacker doesn’t come without his fair share of concerns. He has been dealing with plenty of injuries over the years; the last thing the Blues need is another player making a ton of money who won’t live up to his potential.
Given where Chelsea is as well in this squad-building phase, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to splurge on an aging, injury-prone winger.
If anything, the Blues must set their sights towards Randal Kolo Muani, the French attacker currently playing for Eintracht Frankfurt.
Kolo Muani exploded into the scene with Frankfurt, and he also played a huge role during France’s run to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final. In fact, it was the 24-year old center-forward who missed a one-on-one against Emiliano Martinez with a chance to put France on top; the mere fact that he was on the pitch during those dying embers is a sign of how far he has come.
Nevertheless, Kolo Muani appears to be settled in Germany at the moment; he signed a five-year deal in 2022, so Frankfurt won’t be feeling any sense of urgency just yet to facilitate a transfer. Nevertheless, with the Chelsea rebuild in full swing, it won’t hurt them to try and nab one of the world’s most exciting young attackers.
Romeo Lavia isn’t a household name, but he soon could be when he moves to a bigger club. Lavia’s Southampton was recently relegated from the Premier League, so the 19-year old midfielder could soon be on the move.
Lavia may not be the instant impact signing Chelsea fans hope for following a 12th placed finish, but the 19-year old could blossom into a monster all-around midfielder if given the opportunity to spread his wings. And in a thin Chelsea midfield, he may very well get that chance.