If mastering the fallout from Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea departure wasn’t enough for Thomas Tuchel, he’s now facing one of the most important transfer windows in the club’s history.
With Todd Boehly now in place, and naming himself interim sporting director, the Blues can finally start to plan their next era, but they’re already playing catch up.
Third place finishers in the Premier League last season, the two sides above Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, have already been hard at work, and there’s threats from behind.
Antonio Conte is being backed at Tottenham with a string of big signings, while Arsenal again are active in the window.
For Tuchel though, there’s still plenty of time to spare, and candidates are being lined up to bolster a squad after a season that has left it in need of repair.
Record signing Romelu Lukaku has been an unmitigated disaster after failing to provide a decent goal return and agitating for a loan move back to Inter Milan, which now appears to be on the brink of completion.
Sanctions on Abramovich due to his ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin have also inadvertently decimated Chelsea’s defensive options, with both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen calling time on their Stamford Bridge careers.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta looks likely to depart despite the club triggering a one-year extension in his contract, but either way, Tuchel desperately needs reinforcements.
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The club may now finally be able to conclude a deal for Sevilla’s France international Jules Kounde, a year on from almost signing the highly-rated 23-year-old last summer.
He could also be joined at the back by Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt, with talkSPORT sources reporting the Blues are one of a number of sides keen to exploit the defender’s stalled contract talks.
Should either Kounde or De Ligt join, they will likely be flanked at the back by another France international Jonathan Clauss, who has stood out with Ligue 1 side Lens.
Clauss has not only impressed Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps, but also Tuchel, with a £10million deal in the offing to add depth in defence.
Lukaku’s unsuccessful return looks to be offset by the arrival of Raheem Sterling, with the Man City and England star emerging as one of the club’s main priorities this summer.
Deals for Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez will likely drastically impact Sterling’s game time at the Etihad, with a return to London on the cards for a fee of around £60m.
Joining Sterling up front is where things get interesting, with not only a deal for Everton’s Richarlison looked at, but also a sensational move for Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Athletic reports that Boehly has met Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, who seems to be looking around for a new home with links to Bayern Munich proof of that.
Youth options such as Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher make midfield far less of a concern for Tuchel, but the shape of Chelsea’s defence and attackers could soon be unrecognisable.
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