Whether a prospective takeover can be resolved or not, it is shaping up to be a particularly pivotal transfer window for Chelsea this summer, with a number of key decisions to be made and areas to address in Thomas Tuchel’s squad, particularly in defence.
While versatile skipper Cesar Azpilicueta has seen his contract extended for a further 12 months, doubts remain over his future amid persistent links to La Liga giants Barcelona; the Catalan side having already seemingly poached out-of-contract centre-back Andreas Christensen from Stamford Bridge ahead of next season.
With Antonio Rudiger’s future also uncertain owing to his expiring contract – and with 37-year-old Thiago Silva not getting any younger – the onus is on the club to find adequate and long-term replacements in the centre of defence in the upcoming window.
The west London side will likely scour the market for suitable options, although they already seemingly have an eye-catching talent on their books in 19-year-old Levi Colwill.
Don’t repeat transfer mistakes
The Blues have become well-renowned for their ability to produce high quality, young talent in their youth system, although – Mason Mount and Reece James aside – there is seemingly a continued reluctance to blood those emerging prospects into the first-team.
Their Champions League-winning coach has handed debuts to the likes of teenage duo Harvey Vale and Lewis Hall so far this season, although neither has truly established themselves in the first team, while under the German’s watch a number of promising youngsters have also perhaps mistakenly been shipped off – something which must not be repeated with Huddersfield Town loanee.
Last summer saw the club part ways with four notable youth products – striker Tammy Abraham departed for Roma; Fikayo Tomori made his initial loan move to AC Milan permanent; Tino Livramento joined Southampton and former Swansea loanee Marc Guehi was sold to Crystal Palace.
While there is reportedly a buyback clause in the latter man’s contract with the Eagles – as well as for both Livramento and Abraham in 2023 – those sales are already looking like proving costly, with all four having shone this season at their respective clubs.
Abraham is currently the second-top scorer in Serie A, while Tomori has featured 23 times for title-chasing Milan.
Teenage sensation Livramento has been linked with a move to Manchester United after a stellar debut, top-flight campaign, with fellow academy graduate Guehi recently earning an England call-up for his starring role under Patrick Vieira at Selhurst Park this term.
Ahead of his return to Cobham this summer, Colwill has also been linked with a possible departure – following reports of Leicester City’s interest in January – although the club would be wise to not see a repeat of the quartet mentioned above.
Under impressive young coach Carlos Corberon, the left-footed colossus has shone at the John Smith’s Stadium for the high-flying Championship outfit so far this season, with the Terriers’ head of football operations Leigh Bomby claiming that the young centre-back “talent-wise, for his age, he is the best I’ve seen when I’ve either been playing or coaching”.
That talent – which has seen him compared to club legend John Terry – has also been recognised in NXGN’s top 50 wonderkids in world football, coming in at number 32 in a list in which he was the only Chelsea player featured.
ExaminerLive has even gone as far as describing him as “the next John Terry” in a piece profiling the versatile defender, who dons the England legend’s famous no.26 shirt.
Even if Tuchel is able to go out and spend this summer on a new centre-back addition, he may want to be bear in mind that he already has a hugely exciting asset in Colwill at his disposal.
AND in other news, a European giant has set their sights on signing “disrespectful” Chelsea star amid reported Tuchel fall-out…