As the transfer deadline approaches, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are yet to sign a contract despite several areas needing improvement.
It was obvious from the start of the window the need for reinforcements, particularly in the rear fenders, but no progress was made.
Let’s take a look at what Chelsea should be looking to do ahead of January’s deadline day.
Since Ben Chilwell’s injury in December, it’s been clear that Tuchel simply needs a wing-back this window.
There have been no moves in Chelsea’s transfer window so far, although the German has made it clear he is looking for a left-handed player.
The only attempts Chelsea have made to back up Tuchel’s claims are in their idea of recalling Emerson Palmieri from his loan spell at Lyon.
“One of the possibilities is a player we know and love as a person, Emerson. But we have to check the details. We’re talking and thinking and that’s going to continue for the next few days, maybe weeks. admitted Tuchel earlier in January.
However, the Italian is expected to stay in France and see out the rest of his loan spell, leaving Chelsea light at the back.
Chilwell won’t return until the end of the season, leaving Marcos Alonso as the side’s only trusted winger.
Kenedy has been recalled from his time at Flamengo but has yet to make the matchday squad since his return, while Chelsea have not moved on for Lucas Digne before joining Aston Villa.
Therefore, it is essential that Chelsea make a move on deadline day, with a loan as the preferred option.
But who is available? Sergino Dest could leave Barcelona on the last day of the window as the Catalan club accept a loan, but the winger is more comfortable on the right.
He would be a fantastic signing, covering both wings as Reece James also recovers from injury.
However, the rumors have died down regarding the USMNT player, with few wingers available in January.
Borna Sosa has been linked but it appears Stuttgart would only consider a permanent move as long as Nicolas Tagliafico is available, but there have been ‘no further discussions’ with Chelsea.
Therefore, it seems unlikely that Chelsea will make an acquisition, but they should seriously consider a move for Dest, who could play either side if needed.
If a winger is signed, Kenedy would surely be heading for an exit from Chelsea after it was reported that the Blues would decide his future.
While Tuchel has confirmed that Kenedy will be given a ‘huge opportunity’ on his return, he hasn’t played for the Blues since returning from Brazil.
He said: “Kenedy is back and I’m very happy about it so it’s huge. A huge opportunity for him to establish himself in this club and in this team. We will try from today to push and support him as best we can.
However, if Chelsea manage to bring in a left-back, it’s clear that Kenedy will leave.
The fact that he didn’t feature this month opens up the possibility of a departure. If he plays for the Blues, Kenedy could not sign up and play for a third club this season.
Flamengo have been fighting to keep the Brazilian so they could replace him again either on loan or with a permanent transfer.
But it would all depend on Chelsea’s ability to sign another winger, which seems unlikely at the moment.
Prior agreement from Jules Kounde?
One transfer that is destined to happen is that of Jules Kounde to Chelsea.
It looked like the Blues got their man last summer as the 23-year-old agreed terms at Stamford Bridge, but Sevilla blocked the move.
With Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger all out of contract at the end of the season, it’s clear that a defensive signing will be made and it’s more than likely to be Kounde.
However, the Blues are expected to complete the deal this window, even if it doesn’t arrive until the summer.
Much like the deal that saw Christian Pulisic arrive at the club in 2018, Chelsea are set to stave off summer interest by pursuing Kounde in January.
It has been reported that the Blues have ‘requested’ the defender but in response Sevilla referred to his release clause, saying they have no intention of selling the defender in January.
However, a move this summer could be agreed now to stave off interest from elsewhere and also allow Chelsea to focus on bringing in other areas that are needed in June, such as midfield.
Departures in midfield?
Two players who were constantly linked with departures last summer are Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and again, they are the ones to watch ahead of Deadline Day.
The most recent reports linked the pair with a reunion with Frank Lampard at Everton once he was appointed manager of Goodison Park.
However, the Toffees have completed the signing of Donny Van de Beek, adding to the loan signing of Anwar El Ghazi.
That means they can’t make another inside loan, so they would have to make a permanent signing from Loftus-Cheek or Barkley.
It remains to be seen if they have the funds to complete the transfer on deadline day.
However, Loftus-Cheek is also in high demand abroad as Juventus have been linked with the 26-year-old.
The Old Lady recently signed Denis Zakaria, however, so she may not be moving for the Cobham graduate just yet.
Barkley could gain interest on the final day of the transfer window as Burnley were previously linked with the former Everton man.
Elsewhere, Tino Anjorin has been linked with a move away from the club as Southampton have expressed interest in a permanent transfer.
Chelsea shouldn’t consider that, consider sending him on loan in the Championship instead.
Six months in the English second tier would do him the world of good as he recovers from injury and could return ready for a move to the Premier League next season.
Signature of Ousmane Dembele?
The big story that is taking the footballing world by storm at the moment is Ousmane Dembele’s departure to Barcelona.
The winger has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea, with Tuchel being a huge fan of his former player’s role.
The latest rumors said that Chelsea are considering loaning the player out late in the January transfer window which Barcelona may be interested in.
They are desperate to cut ties with Dembele in January and would demand a loan fee for the player, rather than just losing him for free at the end of the season.
Tuchel has heavily criticized his side for their lack of created chances in recent weeks and Dembele could offer an option on the wing as a creative center for Chelsea.
Dembele has faced the pressure of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world and he would provide Chelsea with something they don’t yet have in their squad, a direct runner.
However, the Blues have several forwards in their squad and Hakim Ziyech has been hitting form in recent weeks, which means signing a player who plays in his place would be extremely tough.
A 4-2-2-2 / 4-2-3-1 formation has been tried recently, and signing Dembele could help Chelsea’s chance creation as they look to the future.
The signing would also show clear support for Tuchel, as Dembele is a player he’s a big fan of.
It remains to be seen if a deal can be done, but Chelsea could be looking to test Barcelona’s resolve in the final hours of the January deadline.