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Sign Fofana and Cucurella, contracts – Chelsea have three tasks before the transfer window shuts


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Sign Fofana and Cucurella, contracts - Chelsea have three tasks before the transfer window shuts
There is now less than a month before the transfer window closes for Chelsea and clearly still much work to do. Thomas Tuchel’s side produced better performances in their two friendlies against Udinese after a disastrous outing against Arsenal but the German coach will be aware that his side are not the finished product.

The arrivals of Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly have been significant and impressive, but the Blues have been playing catch-up in recent months following sanctions and the departures of key players in the team. A rebuilding process was said to be required rather than simply adding players to cement a title challenge.

The season awaits in the coming weekend with wantaway players still in the first team squad, and others still figuring out whether they have a place at all. football.london takes a look at three key things the Blues must do in the remaining four weeks or so of the transfer window to overcome their issues.

Sign players

While Chelsea did complete two impressive signings, there have been plenty of failures too. The club have seen transfers for Raphinha, Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt all fail and now find themselves in a position where they cannot afford any more. The west London side set out with the intention of adding three defenders this summer and so far only Koulibaly has been added to Tuchel’s ranks.

Moves for Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella are now currently underway. The Blues held talks with Fofana’s representatives last week, with the Foxes demanding as much as £80 million to prise away the defender who extended his deal until 2027 earlier this year.

Cucurella is believed to be interested in a move to the Blues after handing in a transfer request amid Manchester City interest. The Premier League champions are said to be unwilling to meet the Seagull’s £50 million demands. football.london understands Chelsea are in advanced talks with the south coast club. Levi Colwill has been floated as an option in a player-plus-cash deal for Cucurella. It’s yet to be seen whether Brighton, who are interested in Colwill, will take that offer or whether they would prefer £50m up front.

Leicester and Brighton have set out a pretty clear stall to progress any deal. Regardless of the merits of either move, if Chelsea have established they want each player, they know the fee that is required. Stretching moves out for weeks to only fail is no longer an option if the club hope to have the strength it needs. The Blues will not want to be taken advantage of, but they should make the decision early rather than drag out anything that may lead nowhere.

Cut down the squad

Chelsea’s squad exceeded 30 while out in the United States, even with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante remaining at Cobham. Even with that number cut when the likes of Harvey Vale, BIlly Gilmour and Armando Broja departed the squad, Tuchel was left to lament the ‘mental commitment that we lacked because we have a lot of players who are thinking about leaving and looking at their options’. A lack of mental commitment cannot be afforded during the cut and thrust of the Premier League.

At the moment, Chelsea could be set to have a number of players without obvious roles within the first team. The Blues currently have Kenedy, Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri in support of Ben Chilwell, and the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley who appear unlikely to trouble Tuchel’s plans. Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have been closely linked to moves away from the club in addition to Alonso and Azpilicueta.

Decisions must be made on players like Levi Colwill, Ethan Ampadu and Broja whose roles are currently uncertain. If their role is not significant, alternative arrangements must be made. As Tuchel said of his attackers: “Everyone needs a role to feel confident and that the players can be the best versions of themselves”. Any less risks the mental commitment he was disappointed with.

Furthermore, Chelsea currently have eight players out on loan. It’s not unusual for that figure to exceed 20. Lots to do.

Ensure development

In recent seasons, cutting down the squad has been in part finding clubs for players Chelsea cannot sell and do not want to play. The likes of Michy Batshuayi, Matt Miazga and Tiémoué Bakayoko have become locked in a loan cycle for example.

However, the loan market has proved a prime stepping stone for Chelsea’s academy products. Mason Mount, Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah and most recently Conor Gallagher have achieved success away from Cobham before making it to the first team.

The Blues must ensure that pathway exists for players with first-team potential going forwards. The likes of Harvey Vale and Charlie Webster have entered the final year of their current deals and as are result are currently unlikely to have the opportunity to go out on loan. If the Blues think players of that ilk would be best served by experience elsewhere, the situation must be resolved and the experience facilitated.

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