Chelsea's potential 22/23 starting XI as club near Dembele signing

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Chelsea reportedly want to sign FC Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele, and according to the latest news from Spain, a deal is close to being completed.

Reports indicate that a deal to bring the France international to Stamford Bridge is all but completed, with Dembele set to end nearly a year of speculation by signing for Chelsea once his contract with Barcelona comes expires at the end of this month.

Given Dembele’s incredible form in 2022 and the number of clubs interested in signing the winger, Chelsea landing the attacker is a major coup for Thomas Tuchel’s side as well as a big win for Todd Boehly in what will be a statement signing from the new American owner.

With that in mind, what could Chelsea’s XI next season look like with Dembele close to signing for the club, and how might the Blues shape up with more additions to follow after the arrival of the former Borussia Dortmund star.

Two new centre-backs join Chelsea as backline is improved heavily

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With Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger now no longer Chelsea players, at least two centre-backs are needed at the Bridge this summer. And according to reports, Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt are two top targets for the west London side.

As we know, the Blues were close to signing Kounde last summer from Sevilla. However, a deal fell through in the final moments as the French centre-back enjoyed yet another stellar year in La Liga. However, 12 months on, the defender now looks set to join Chelsea.

Whilst De Ligt could be a harder player to sign given his rumoured release clause at Juventus, the £64m defender is still one of the best in the world, and still incredibly only 22-years-old. Alongside Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy in goal, the quartet make for an outstanding backline.

Ben Chilwell returns to the XI after season of injury hell

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Chelsea’s immense spending tradition looks to continue this summer, yet for the midfield, very little actually has to change with Ben Chilwell now back from his injury nightmare that has kept the defender on the injury table.

With Reece James coming off his best season ever for the Blues, the England international retains his spot out on the right, whilst Matteo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante are also likely to start together in the central midfield, with Jorginho’s future currently uncertain.

Should the Italian leave, a new central midfielder will likely sign for Chelsea with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley also set to depart west London, with Conor Gallagher hopefully a part of Tuchel’s plans after a breakout season for the Cobham graduate.

Ousmane Dembele replaces Hakim Ziyech on the right-wing

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Dembele is currently the man of the hour amongst Chelsea fans, and in our XI, Hakim Ziyech is the unlucky player who makes way for the France international, with the Frank Lampard signing also likely to depart Stamford Bridge if reports are to be believed.

With Dembele out on the right and Chelsea’s striking crisis unlikely to be resolved this summer, Kai Havertz gets the nod up front, with Mason Mount retaining his spot on the left-sided forward position.

The England international was stellar last season and was rightly named Chelsea’s Player of the Year, and if these three players can gel over the summer, Tuchel could potentially have one of the deadliest attacking trios in the Premier League for the 2022/23 campaign.

Football journalist and 2018 Sport Journalism graduate from the University of Brighton.