Chelsea

Chelsea transfers: How Thomas Tuchel's midfield could look in 2022/23

Krishan Davis
Graeme Bailey
Thomas Tuchel plans to oversee an overhaul of the midfield
Thomas Tuchel plans to oversee an overhaul of the midfield / Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Angel Martinez/Alex Burstow/90min/Getty Images
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Thomas Tuchel intends to oversee an overhaul of the Chelsea midfield when the transfer window creaks open, 90min understands, with a number of high-profile coming and goings anticipated at Stamford Bridge this summer.

Chelsea had been expected to mount a title challenge this season, while a staunch defence of their European crown seemed a distinct possibility. However, injuries, illness and some indifferent form have put paid to each of those pursuits, with Tuchel's side firmly the third-best team in the Premier League and out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

Although the Blues have performed dazzlingly at times and find themselves in another FA Cup final - with Tuchel's position as head coach is perhaps more secure than any of his predecessors in the dwindling Roman Abramovich era - on paper they have not achieved their goals for the campaign.

Consequently, a targeted mini rebuild is on the cards this summer, with the central midfield area deemed a priority. 90min understands that only Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante are near-certainties to remain - although there is an acceptance the latter's star is waning - and the club will target at least one marquee signing to improve that area of the pitch.

Here are the moves to expect in the coming months...


OUT

1. Jorginho

Jorginho
Jorginho could be a high-profile departure / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The highest-profile departure of the summer - away from defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen - could well be Jorginho.

The Italy international is out of contract in June 2023 and sources have told 90min that he is unlikely to be offered a new deal.

That means a sale this summer is a likelihood and a return to Serie A has long been touted by his agent. Maurizio Sarri is keen on a reunion at Lazio, while Juventus and AC Milan are also interested.

Possible destinations: Lazio, Juventus, AC Milan

2. Ross Barkley

Having been given an opportunity earlier in the season, Ross Barkley has barely featured in 2022 after a January loan failed to materialise.

The former Everton man's contract expires in 2023 and he seems a dead cert for a cut-price summer sale.

Possible destinations: Leeds, Everton, Newcastle

3. Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Although he has been given semi-regular game time this season by Tuchel, it remains to be seen whether Ruben Loftus-Cheek can reach the level required to be a Chelsea regular.

He was widely expected to leave last summer and speculation surrounding his future has persisted. A big decision is likely coming in next few months.

Speaking about the midfielder this week, Tuchel rather damningly said: "It was so promising but he is at a certain age now and he never had his breakthrough.

"Everybody is still waiting for the next step so for him it’s crucial to focus on the very day where he is."

Possible destinations: Lazio, Crystal Palace, Newcastle

4. Saul Niguez

Saul Niguez
Saul's move has not worked out / Robin Jones/GettyImages

The latest in a long line of failed Chelsea loans.

Despite a smattering of impressive performances among his scant appearances this season, Saul has largely flattered to deceive.

We can say with some certainty that the Spain international will return to his parent club Atletico Madrid in the summer, as Chelsea decline to take up their £30m option to buy.

5. Billy Gilmour

A loan at Norwich City simply hasn't gone to plan for Chelsea fan favourite Billy Gilmour.

The young Scot is likely to suffer relegation with the Canaries at the end of what has been a testing season.

With a place in Scotland's World Cup squad at stake should they qualify, sources have told 90min that another loan beckons as he has not done enough to justify a place in Tuchel's squad.

Whether he is with the group for pre-season will be dependent on who else leaves.

Possible destinations: Fulham, Bournemouth, Rangers

6. Tiemoue Bakayoko

Although he is on a two-year loan at AC Milan, the Frenchman has barely featured in the second half of the season and you would think he is therefore likely to have his second spell at San Siro cut short.

Should that be the case then Chelsea must look to shift him as soon as possible, although the fact he is somehow still under contract until 2024 could hamstring them, with another loan perhaps more likely.

Possible destinations: Ligue 1, Napoli

7. Danny Drinkwater

Yes, he's still a Chelsea player.

Thankfully he has finally managed to find some game time at Reading this season after spells in Turkey and elsewhere in the Premier League.

His contract at Stamford Bridge finally expires in the summer, bringing his ill-fated five years there to an end.

Possible destinations: Reading


IN

8. Aurelien Tchouameni

Aurelien Tchouameni
Tchouameni has enjoyed a fine season / John Berry/GettyImages

Aurelien Tchouameni is Chelsea's number one midfield target this summer, 90min understands, although the Blues are likely to face competition from the likes of Real Madrid and Man City.

Already a regular for France, the 22-year-old Monaco man has emerged as one of the finest young central midfielders on the planet, and his arrival would be a huge statement for Tuchel's aspiring title challengers.

Tchouameni's stock has risen significantly since the summer, but he would still represent an affordable upgrade on Jorginho.

9. Conor Gallagher

A hugely impressive loan at Crystal Palace has propelled Conor Gallagher into Tuchel's plans for next season, with the German coach already confirming he could well be given his chance.

“I believe Conor can be a part of our squad and can play a role with us," said. "But I am not the only one to decide. We need to speak after the season with everybody, speak after the season about what Conor wants, we need to see what the situation is and what role we have for him that he can fight for.

"His development is extraordinary and outstanding."

Already a full England international, Gallagher seems ready to step straight into the lineup, and Kante could be the perfect mentor as he looks to hone his tenacious, box-to-box approach.

10. Declan Rice

Declan Rice
Rice is a long-term target / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Although Tchouameni is the priority, Chelsea's interest in West Ham dynamo Declan Rice has not wavered, 90min understands.

Should they miss out on the Frenchman then they could well move for Rice, who is open to a move having enjoyed another outstanding season under David Moyes at the London Stadium, even picking up European experience in the Europa League.

However, the England man would come at a significantly higher cost than Tchouameni. While Moyes has slapped a £150m price tag on his star player, 90min understands the Hammers would consider a bid in the region of £120m.

Chelsea would face competition from Manchester United, who are willing to break their transfer record to sign the 23-year-old.


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