Did Chelsea miss a trick not strengthening at centre-back?
Chelsea was particularly busy as the summer transfer window drew to a close; two new players came in at the Bridge.
The Blues were able to offload Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid after triggering the £71.6 million buy-out clause of Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Mateo Kovacic was another incoming from Madrid on loan.
Bring In The Big Guns
It means that Chelsea has brought in four players in total. Jorginho and Rob Green also joined earlier on in the window, but interestingly there were no additions to defence.
Things were up in the air, with Antonio Conte’s dismissal taking longer than expected for one reason or another. That may be partly why new manager Maurizio Sarri hasn’t been able to do more business; although perhaps some responsibility lay with transfer handler Marina Granovskaia.
It means Chelsea’s defensive options at the back right now are; Cesar Azpilicueta (likely playing as a full-back), Antonio Rudiger, Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen, David Luiz, Kurt Zouma, and Ethan Ampadu.
The Blues should probably have looked to strengthen; Cahill and Luiz are not the players they once were and both are ageing. There are question marks over Antonio Rudiger’s ability to play in a back four too; he looked suspect against Manchester City during the Community Shield.
Christensen is a good option for the Blues, but Zouma doesn’t look ready to start regularly yet. Furthermore, it would be a huge risk to field young starlet Ampadu consistently.
Perhaps Chelsea should have tried harder to sign Daniele Rugani from Juventus or even made a play for eventual Bianconeri signing Leonardo Bonucci. The managerial disruption is probably to blame, and it might come back to bite Chelsea later on in the season.
Rugani’s agent actually told RMC Sport (via the Daily Mail) that the Blues did lodge ‘a really big bid’ for his client, indicating the club does recognise the need for reinforcements in the position.