The 2019/20 season remains unfinished but some teams have already begun the work ofimproving their squads for the next campaign.
Chelsea has had the best pre-transfer window, confirming the signing of Hakim Ziyech before football’s coronavirus enforced suspension and closing in on Timo Werner during lockdown.
But Frank Lampard won’t want to stop at Werner. And he shouldn’t because the team still needs work if it’s to compete at the very top end of the game.
We’ve highlighted some of the positions that require attention and recommended a player for each of them. See if any of your proposed signings feature.
What gaps are there in the team?
If you based your assessment of Chelsea’s transfer needs on the tabloid then it would be tempting to say that Chelsea needs more guile in the final third.
Kai Havertz. Jadon Sancho. Federico Bernardeschi. Philippe Coutinho. All of these players are creative attackers who’ve been linked to Chelsea at some stage during 2020.
Indeed, if you were to check the transfer betting details on a sports exchange like Gala Casino, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Havertz is nailed on to be a Chelsea player.
However, a sober review of Chelsea’s squad puts their most pressing needs further back.
They need a new first-choice goalkeeper, a reliable left back, and competition at centre back.
Chelsea should sign a new goalkeeper
Kepa Arrizabalaga became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when he signed for the club in August 2018. His £71.6m fee was a little under £5m more than Liverpool paid for Alisson Becker the previous month.
Alisson has been a revelation for Liverpool. The Brazillian’sform helped turn Liverpool into the finest team on the planet and cemented his place as one of the finest keepers alive.
Kepa has been less successful.
Despite showing patches of brilliance, the young Spaniard’s performances dipped so far that Lampard replaced him with 38-year-old Willy Caballero.
Kepa had regained his place in the side prior to the coronavirus enforced suspension of football, but the damage has been done – Lampard needs a new goalie and the identity of that man is André Onana.
Onana has incredible reflexes, European experience, and a winning mentality. But most importantly, he’s fantastic with the ball at his feet. This combination of technical and mental attributes make him the perfect signing once Werner is through the door.
Left-back is a priority position for Chelsea
Marcos Alonso enjoyed a golden debut campaign. He contributed seven league goals to Chelsea’s title-winning season of 2016/17, announcing himself as one of the most effective attacking fullbacks in the world.
He scored even more goals the following season but things have been going downhill since.
Alonso has shared the left back duties with Emerson Palmieri during the 2019/20 season, with Lampard splitting game time fairly evenly between the two.
But neither player has impressed and the result is that the position is probably the one with the greatest need for new blood. In an ideal world, the player to provide this is Ben Chilwell.
At just 23, Chilwell has his best years ahead of him. And if the warm-up part of his career is anything to go by, he’ll be some player when he reaches his prime – he’s already shown that he has both the attacking and defensive nous to flourish at the top level.
And the other benefit to signing Chilwell is that it weakens Leicester City, a team Chelsea have sat behind in the league for much of the season.
Chelsea need competition at centre back
Antonio Rüdiger is one of the most underrated defenders in Europe.
Rarely is he at the forefront (or even involved) during conversations about the best players in his position, but he seldom lets his side down and has helped Chelsea to win the FA Cup and Europa League during his time at the club.
Fikayo Tomori is a player of rich promise.
Comfortable with the ball at his feet, intelligent in his positioning, and, despite what FIFA 2020 says, quick enough to get himself out of trouble on the rare occasions his inexperience lets him down.
These two defenders are a more than able first choice partnership, but something has been a little off during 2019/20. Chelsea have endured patches of defensive uncertainty that’s cost them points and, perhaps, places in the table.
Competition is needed to keep the two players on their toes and Rúben Dias is the perfect signing. Dias combines the best qualities of Rüdiger and Tomori. He’s smart, silky, and strong. He could be signed initially to compete with the pair but has the quality to be Chelsea’s main CB for the next decade.
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Timo Werner is set to be a spectacular signing for Chelsea, but the German goal-getter can’t take Chelsea to the next level on his own.
Plugging the holes at goalkeeper, left back, and centre back is essential and signing Onana, Chilwell, and Dias could turn Chelsea into a serious proposition for 2020/21.
So, keep an eye on Chelsea’s transfer activity and see how many of those three arrive.