With the transfer window slamming shut on Tuesday night, Chelsea still has lots to do still.
Kurt Zouma joined West Ham on a permanent deal not long after the full-time whistle went on Saturday. The Blues remaining keen on signing a new defender ahead of the deadline, with Jules Kounde the prime target. Will the club be able to pull of the signing of Jules Kounde from Sevilla before the window slams shut?
One of the most pressing situations that needs to be sorted is tying down Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to longer-term contracts who both have started all of the four league games so far this season and both looked as assured as last season under Thomas Tuchel.
If they fail to address those issues in this window, it will act as a cause for concern at Chelsea given both players could decide to wait until January and agree to sign a deal to join another club in the summer of 2022 when their deals expire. That is the worst-case scenario.
A question mark also hangs over the heads of Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi over the next few days. If Thomas Tuchel sticks with the squad options that we have come to expect, then it might be a case that they all struggle to get game time as the more favoured trio of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner fight for two spots behind Lukaku.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has been linked away a few times in recent transfer windows with late charges from German sides and this window feels like no different. Dortmund have been linked with Hudson-Odoi on loan as have Atalanta on a permanent deal.
Retaining existing players is just the start of the work that ideally needs to be resolved before the window shuts, while resolving the futures of returning loan players is equally urgent. Chelsea had a number of players return from loan deals this summer who are still yet to get another move on loan or be sold.
Since I wrote the last transfer window update over a week ago we’ve seen a few players complete moves away. Five players signed new deals before heading out on a season-long loan. The players are Michy Batshuayi who joined the Turkish side Besiktas. Emerson joined the French club, Lyon. He’s since started and played in back to back full matches for them keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Nantes on Friday night. Kenedy joined the Brazilian club Flamengo. Matt Miazga has joined the Spanish side Deportivo Alavés and Baba Rahman has joined Reading.
A strong chance Chelsea could lose another great academy prospect in Tino Anjorin whos been linked to Lokomotiv Moscow on a permanent deal. Ralf Rangnick is head of sports and development at the Russian club for a few months and has eyes on making him a first-team player for them. Anjorin this week got called up to the latest England U20s squad and one to keep an eye out for in the next few days in terms of potentially leaving.
Chelsea have managed to sell two players since in Davide Zappacosta who has joined on the up Italian side Atalanta. Ike Ugbo has since left to join Genk on a permanent deal after thirteen years at the club making his way up the academy ranks.
Malang Sarr and Ethan Ampadu should get loan moves sorted before the window shuts. They both have more than a season on their deals, so the club won’t be pressed to make a sale this summer.
The same cannot be said for the likes of Lewis Baker, Danny Drinkwater and George McEachran. Reading who just taken Baba Rahman on loan are rumoured to be looking at Drinkwater on loan.
Bakayoko is likely to join Milan on a two-year loan at some point today after agreeing on a new deal at the club till 2024. Milan has an option to buy in the deal which all parties will hope happens
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been given opportunities to impress this summer and could benefit from a lack of other viable central midfield options for Tuchel’s ‘double six’. He would very much be a fourth-choice option behind Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic but if the club are to bring in an external option for that position then Loftus-Cheek’s days appear numbered. The club has been rumoured looking at trying to get Saúl Ñíguez from Atlético Madrid on a season-long loan.
Monaco failed to qualify for the Champions League and a small suggestion Chelsea will try again to make Aurélien Tchouaméni the midfield signing. With N’Golo Kante going off injured on Saturday it might make the club more determined to get cover.
Dujon Sterling also has a season left on his deal. But after a rough 2020, a very good back end to the 2020/21 season in the development squad and having spent pre-season with the first team he fits the bill for someone who could get a new deal before heading out on loan to secure much-needed senior minutes. Blackpool in the Championship will sign him on a season-long loan. This deal will be announced by the end of the day with a contract extension till 2023 with a clause for an extra season.
Charly Musonda also falls in the bracket of having just 12 months left on his current deal. After years of being on the periphery at Chelsea, he was around the pre-season squad to start off with before a positive COVID-19 test followed by a period of self-isolation set him back.
This season offers Musonda another opportunity to head out and get the first-team minutes he needs at this stage of his career in a situation not dissimilar to Marco van Ginkel last year. A permanent move seems likely next summer but Chelsea may yet agree to extend the deal in order to protect the value of their asset ahead of any spell away from Stamford Bridge.
Barkley had a good start at Aston Villa last season but he’s clearly not going to make his way into the side now with the plethora of options Tuchel has at his disposal. This summer offers a good opportunity to part ways with the Liverpudlian but both he a likelier to get a loan deal, if anything, at this stage.
With the struggle to offload players, Marina Granovskaia will hope the landscape of the transfer window next summer has a different outlook.
It has been an arduous window for the selling club this summer with those purchasing favouring loan deals with options to buy given the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
If Granovskaia is successful in signing Kounde or another new defender that may yet open the door for Trevoh Chalobah to head out on loan to continue his progression elsewhere despite an impressive start to the season that was capped with his goal against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Depending on what happens with Rudiger and Christensen’s new deals and with Azpilicueta a year older at that stage, a loan deal for the 22-year-old could lead to him coming back next season with new opportunities in a three-man backline.
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A few players that had loans last season or did well in the development could still all potentially get a move in the next few days too. These include Teddy Sharman-Lowe, Ethan Wady, Xavier Mbuyamba, Sam McClelland, Thierno Ballo, Tariq Uwakwe and George Nunn. Development Squad goalkeeper Karlo Ziger got a loan move to NK Rudar Velenje from Slovenian.
With so little time remaining now, it’s clear to see Granovskaia will have to preside over a lot of outgoing business after having already secured the primary piece of incoming business in the form of Romelu Lukaku.
If the club can’t get the majority of these players off the books then it will be great for Chelsea wage bill and their careers. But with a three-step strategy of new contracts to sort, a raft of departures to oversee and one or two more potential new arrivals, Tuchel and Chelsea are moving closer to the squad they need to challenge on all fronts.
What would you do with the players listed in the article? Keep, loan or sell? Follow our new Chelsea Fan Brands Editor Scott Clayton (CarefreeYouth) on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.