After adding Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku to their attacking ranks, Chelsea are now looking to recruit a central midfielder and central defender to strengthen their squad before the summer transfer window shuts next week.
The Blues have also been linked with both Declan Rice and Saul Niguez this summer, with the latter being the stronger rumour after the Spaniard expressed his desire to leave Atletico Madrid with Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the midfielder’s signature, football.london understands.
Thomas Tuchel has a slight issue with Chelsea needing to offload a number of fringe players such as Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayako all free to leave should a suitor be found, yet due to wage demands, this could prove difficult.
The emergence of Trevoh Chalobah in defence has also caused a bit of a headache for the German coach, with Chelsea now having six options at centre-back, meaning a potential deal for Kounde could hinge on the outgoing of Kurt Zouma who has been linked with a move to West Ham in recent weeks.
So, how would Chelsea perform in the 2021/22 season should everything fall into place and they are able to sign both Saul and Kounde before the transfer deadline? And what sort of impact would they have in the Chelsea team? Let’s find out.
We ‘signed’ Saul Niguez and Jules Kounde for Chelsea this summer
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2021 editor to arrange for both Kounde and Saul to join Chelsea during the 2021/22 season summer transfer window.
Let’s take a look at how Saul and Kounde performed for Chelsea across all competitions in the 2021/22 season.
The Spanish midfielder had a brilliant season at the Blues, contributing three goals and nine assists in his 34 appearances across all competitions.
To put this into context, Saul registered the same number of assists as Mason Mount in the 2021/22 season, despite making 21 appearances less than the Englishman.
Saul’s average match rating of 7.32 is just 0.11 less than that of his midfield partner N’Golo Kante’s average match rating of 7.43, suggesting that Saul’s performances were a close match to the Frenchman in the Blues midfield.
Saul averaged 2.71 tackles per 90 minutes, as well as registering an 89 per cent pass completion rate, which betters both Mount and Jorginho’s statistics across all competitions.
As for Kounde, he averaged the best tackle completion rate with 89 per cent, won 2.41 tackles per 90 minutes which was the best out of any defender at the club, whilst also showing his impressive passing ability by registering 1.11 key passes per 90 minutes and a pass completion rate of 93 per cent.
Kounde and Saul’s performances saw them feature in Chelsea’s best XI for the 2021/22 season, alongside new signing Romelu Lukaku who also featured in the side.
So, how did the Blues perform in all competitions in our simulated season with Lukaku in the squad?
Chelsea’s 2021/22 season results with Saul and Kounde
Despite having the league’s top scorer and a full season under Thomas Tuchel’s guidance, Chelsea were unable to pip Manchester City to the title.
The Blues did improve their league position from fourth last season to second this season, as they picked up 21 more points than last season and finished with the best attack and defence record in the Premier League, scoring 31 more goals and conceding three goals less.
With Champions League qualification confirmed, let’s take a look at how Chelsea managed in the cup competitions.
Tuchel’s side lost 2-1 to Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-final and 2-1 to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup third round – a disappointing domestic campaign for Chelsea.
Chelsea almost replicated their Champions League success of last season, but fell short in the semi-finals losing to Bayern Munich 3-2 on aggregate, despite winning the second leg at Stamford Bridge 2-1.
Overall, Lukaku’s return paired with the arrival of both Saul and Kounde was a positive for the Blues, despite not winning the league, as they did improve their points tally and league position as they continued to build on last season’s success.
Football Manager predicts that if Chelsea manage to sign Saul and Kounde this summer, both the Spaniard and French defender could have significant impacts in improving Tuchel’s side and helping them compete for the Premier League title.
Do you think Saul and Kounde would be good signings for Chelsea this summer? Let us know in the comments below!