Three center-backs Chelsea could sign to ward off defensive crisis in the back
Tuchel and the board are worried as 3 defenders may potentially leave as their contracts run out in the summer
It’s understood that Chelsea have been trying to tie down three of their most crucial defenders in Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
However, they have hit roadblocks in renewal negotiations with all of them and it seems highly likely that all three of them may leave Stamford Bridge for no fees at all.
If that happens, Blues just may have a mountain to climb in bring replacements who can slot in quickly and perform at the required level.
BREAKING : Antonio Rudiger REJECTS NEW contract worth closer to the £200,000 a week mark, both parties are open to more communication and Chelsea are hopeful they can still strike an agreement with the defender.
Via @SamiMokbel81_DM #CFC pic.twitter.com/2fUpFBwPjp
— Pys (@CFCPys) February 4, 2022
Rudiger, 28, has demanded around £200k per week and has been in contact with other big clubs around Europe, but recently talks have thawed a little.
After Madrid’s interest cooled off, Chelsea and Rudiger’s positions have gotten closer but a deal still seems far away.
Christensen has been reluctant over agreeing a new deal to tie down his long-term future to Chelsea, and has attracted interest from around Europe, mainly Barca and Bayern.
Chelsea are not considering making a new offer to Andreas Christensen, who is in advanced talks with Barcelona.
— @Ekremkonur pic.twitter.com/Ngp4LFzFir
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 7, 2022
Azpilicueta has been reported to want a move back to Spain to play under former Spain teammate Xavi Hernandez at Barcelona, amid reports that a deal between the two parties has already been struck.
Barcelona are on the verge of finalizing deals for Chelsea players Azpilicueta and Christensen. An agreement with the former has been reached, while talks with the latter are at an advanced stage. Both players want to have their future decided as soon as possible. [sport] pic.twitter.com/k4QMN5GOXj
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) February 5, 2022
Looking at such a grim situation, we’ve identified three possible signings Chelsea could make in defense to replace outgoings.
Niklas Sule from Bayern
It is highly possible that Bayern may land Andreas Christensen on a free while the opposite happens to Niklas Sule who may find himself at Stamford Bridge come next season.
However, this just may be the best deal the Blues could land as the Bayern Munich defender runs out of contract this summer and looks set to leave Germany this summer.
Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United have reportedly made a contract offer for Bayern Munich star Niklas Sule who will be a free agent in the summer.
— Vince™ (@Blue_Footy) February 4, 2022
Chelsea have been widely reported to be interested in the 26 year-old, who is also just about to hit the prime age when defenders usually enter their prime on a pitch.
The player’s agent has also said that the defender has decided on his next destination, as he said:
“The new club has already been decided.”
He continued: “The new club has already been decided. Niklas has made a decision and I would be surprised if he changed his mind.”
Chelsea fans can only hope the club he’s decided is a certain club from West London that wears blue.
Ronald Araujo from Barcelona
The Spanish defender has appeared as a gem in a dusty Barcelona in recent times and has cemented himself as one of the best defenders in La Liga.
Chelsea have already sent alarm bells ringing at Camp Nou with their approaches to the defender, who is nearing the end of his current deal that keeps him at Barca in 2023.
Chelsea are in contact to sign Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, which would be for the summer window, and they have a ‘powerful offer’ for the player to be Antonio Rudiger’s replacement at Stamford Bridge.
– @sport via @Sport_Witness pic.twitter.com/9Dee3c2SBc
— Simon Phillips (@siphillipssport) February 7, 2022
The defender has also reportedly rejected Barca’s first contract offer, something which Chelsea may be able to take advantage of.
According to reports, Chelsea are offering the Uruguayan more than double of what Barca offered the defender, leading him to reject the first renewal offer.
(🌕) Talks over Araujo’s renewal are underway. The player is essential to Xavi & is happy at Barça. He is a key part of the project. Some English clubs are attentive, but there’s nothing more than that. His currently salary doesn’t reach €1M. @MatteMoretto #Transfers 🇺🇾
— Reshad Rahman ✆ (@ReshadRahman_) February 4, 2022
However, this one may not be as easy as Chelsea may think, as Araujo wants to stay at his current club and is even willing to lower his demands to ensure he continues at Camp Nou.
Regardless, he is one to keep an eye on till the summer if Barca fail to tie him down.
Jules Kounde from Sevilla
Out of all the three names, Kounde is certainly the one that has been the closest to joining the Blues as the Frenchman came very close to seeing himself in a Chelsea shirt.
After everything had been agreed with Sevilla for the Frenchman’s signature, the Spanish side pushed up their demands last minute as they demanded the whole £80m release clause be paid.
🗣 @Matt_Law_DT on Chelsea’s relationship with Jules Koundé’s agent:
“Chelsea have got a very good relationship with Koundé’s agent that was developed over the summer. Koundé was very, very upset that [the Chelsea] move didn't happen over the summer.”
🔊 https://t.co/M5yu9HSp2C pic.twitter.com/pxxfcVEB83
— London Is Blue Podcast ⭐️⭐️ (@LondonBluePod) January 30, 2022
Marina Granovskaia pulled out immediately after this and the 23 year-old was reportedly left furious when he heard that his move to Stamford Bridge had broken down.
Sevilla have dropped their demands from last summer and he may still be gettable in the range of £50-60m in the next transfer window.
After a slow start to the season, Kounde has picked his form back up in a Sevilla side that’s competing for the league title after decades against Real Madrid.
WATCH: Chelsea’s out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku scores twice in action-packed second half 🔥
Romelu Lukaku scores twice v Wolves: Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge tonight in a contest where they were hopeful of reversing their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth.
Despite the Blues receiving two goal scoring opportunities in the first-half of the game, it still ended in a stalemate. However, as the second-half commenced, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to strike twice in quick succession to put Chelsea on a trajectory toward what appeared to be a deserved victory at that time.
Lukaku’s goal tally for Chelsea this season has totalled up to 14 now, causing him to become the highest goal scorer for the Blues, just a goal ahead of Kai Havertz. His performance tonight underlines his renewed confidence as he looks to be approaching the sort of form that had deserted him for most of the season.
Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in the Premier League since December 29th.
129 days later and he's got a brace in 3 minutes ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/FzZx49vvHw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 7, 2022
Watch how Romelu Lukaku scores twice in quick succession to give Chelsea’s scoreline an uplift:
The first goal came in response to a VAR call for a foul committed by Saiss on Romelu Lukaku as both players were caught up in a tangle on the edge of the penalty area.
Watch Lukaku’s left-footed penalty here:
The second goal was a Pulisic interception that found Lukaku who then completed the play with an emphatic low finish from the edge of the box with his weaker right foot.
Romelu Lukaku gets his brace with an assist from Christian Pulisic!
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 7, 2022
Lukaku wasn’t able to register himself on the scoresheet for Chelsea ever since the start of year 2022 – a daunting prospect for such an expensive striker – however, that record has been laid to rest today as his goals v Wolves have certainly managed to make a statement of his intent.
It’s a shame that a subpar defensive performance from his side overshadowed his monumental return to form. Chelsea were stripped to bone with comeback goals from Wolves that added misery to Chelsea’s hopes of securing a victory. The game ended in an unanticipated 2-2 draw.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just two points, especially after having picked up only 5 points from a possible 15.
Official: Todd Boehly’s consortium signs agreement with Chelsea FC to succeed Roman Abramovich
Chelsea released an official statement in the early hours of Saturday morning confirming that the terms have been agreed with the LA Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium to complete the £4.25bn takeover of the club though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the Premier League authorities as well as the UK government.
The statement read:
‘Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club’.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
🚨🔵 Official. Chelsea statement now confirms that “terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club”. #CFC
It’s the end of Roman Abramovich era. pic.twitter.com/fTw5EMdd8p
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2022
Last week, it was revealed that Todd Boehly & Co were Raine Group’s preferred choice to succeed Roman Abramovich following which the group were given one-week window of exclusive negotiations with the club to finalise the takeover. The deal had appeared in doubt due to late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, those fears were dissipated as the Ratcliffe bid was later dismissed on account of his inability to complete the sale process by May 31st – the date when Chelsea’s current license expires.
Although the group is fronted by Todd Boehly, private equity firm Clearlake Capital is the one providing the majority of the financial firepower to it. The consortium also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, Boehly’s fellow LA Dodgers’ owner Mark Walter and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein.
As per Chelsea’s official statement, the £4.25bn headline sum includes the £2.5bn cost required to secure shares in Chelsea – which will go into a frozen UK bank account for the purpose of releasing 100 per cent of the proceeds to charitable causes – the remaining £1.75bn is the amount the group have committed to invest in the club’s future, covering costs regarding redevelopment projects and ensuring there are sufficient funds in place for operational use.
‘The proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation’.
The Clause also placed a limit on the debt the new owners can place on the club.
It also made sure the group pledged £1.75B to be invested in Chelsea's male and female teams, the academy, stadium, and the Chelsea Foundation.
Roman Abramovich secured Chelsea for at least 10yrs. pic.twitter.com/RhZ985Vuxq
— SportsDokita (Odogwu ☝️) (@Sports_Doctor2) May 7, 2022
Few final, obligatory steps remain in the official transfer of ownership of Chelsea Football Club to Todd Boehly’s consortium, one of which requires all group members to complete the Premier League Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Furthermore, Chelsea will have to apply for the amended license from the UK government that would upgrade the club’s operational capacity in addition to allowing the transaction to go ahead. The preparations are underway as the Raine Group wants the sale process to reach its completion as soon as possible.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Four players on the injury list, including a midfield duo.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they will be looking to reverse their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth. There are four player absentees that have been confirmed so far by head coach, Thomas Tuchel, in today’s pre-match conference.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just three points, especially after having picked up only 4 points from a possible 12.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: The central midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are ruled out of action for tomorrow’s clash as reported by Thomas Tuchel at a press briefing today.
Additionally, the long-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell also remain restricted to the sidelines, despite returning to light training.
Thomas Tuchel has confirmed #Chelsea will be without quartet Ben Chilwell, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi against Wolves.https://t.co/WfBnda02YO
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) May 6, 2022
N’Golo Kante had sustained a knock in the game against Manchester United, consequently missing last weekend’s trip to Everton where his fellow midfielder Jorginho was taken off the pitch at interval.
‘For N’Golo it comes too early. Jorginho is out as well, these two are missing. Callum and Ben Chilwell are still out,’ said the Blues boss.
The duo’s unavailability will give way to introducing Kovačić and most likely RLC in their stead as the latter is currently enjoying an upturn in form.
Mateo Kovačić returned to action as a half-time substitute last weekend after missing a couple games on account of nursing an ankle injury. He stands the highest chance of featuring a start in tomorrow’s game v Wolves.
There is a growing feeling that Tuchel might give Romelu Lukaku a start tomorrow, considering his substitute Kai Havertz is also struggling to find the form that has recently deserted him.
Thomas Tuchel has expressed optimism regarding Lukaku’s reaction in training this week. The Blues boss said;
‘I want him to be an important part of the squad, right now he is very important. There is no recruitment and no players are about to leave because it’s simply not possible,’
‘We need to adapt all the time, to contractual situations and also individual situations, to what we and the players want.
‘We signed a big player, he is a big player. He didn’t come on [at Everton] as we had only three changes, and unfortunately we used one at half-time with Jorginho. Otherwise there was a huge chance we had the same changes as against West Ham, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech,’
‘He trained very well, maybe he starts tomorrow, we’ll see.’
🗣️ "Maybe starts tomorrow, let's see." 👀
Thomas Tuchel says he wants Romelu Lukaku to be an important part of the squad next season and discusses why he wasn't played against Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/n8Lf0sEvRP
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 6, 2022