Though few Chelsea fans would say it, the defence so far this season has been a little perplexing. Given the quality of players in said rotation, though, there is always a solid defender stepping in to the backline. However, it would appear that Chelsea want an extra layer of depth that they can use in central defenec. With that in mind, links to Attila Szalai of Fenerbahce should not come as any surprise.

The titanic centre-half has made quite a name for himself in Turkey, becoming one of the leading defenders in the league. His excellent performances since arriving at Fener, a massive club in their own right, have caught the eye of most of Europe. The player has been linked with most big names, but he appears to be a good fit for the style, personality, and cost level that the Blues are looking for in a new defender.

Reports in Turkey, via CNN Turk, suggest that Szalai could be a Blues player as early as January. The rumours have been swirling for a while now, with the defender also linked with a move to the Bundesliga. However, a price of over £20m would put off most German clubs, given the players only major top-flight experience has come with Fener.

Given the funds that Chelsea have to play with, though, taking a punt on this talent should not be out of their reach. The 23-year-old has made a big name for himself as he arrived in Turkey, quickly asserting his position.

His club side, though, are, like most Turkish clubs, suffering from financial losses and due to the conversion rate of the domestic currency. As such, the Canaries might need to think about taking the money they can for one of their key players.

Chelsea considering Saul Niguez return

Another transfer rumour floating around is that Chelsea will send back loan signing Saul Niguez. The versatile midfielder arrived in the summer on a loan deal, leaving boyhood club Atletico Madrid. Having admitted that his versatility had caused as many problems as it had solved solutions, the Spaniard was keen for a fresh start.

Though rumours linked him with a move to Barcelona, the player himself made clear he had only eyes for Atletico as his Spanish club of choice. However, a move to Chelsea offered the chance to play in a system that would suit him, and to join a team who just won the UEFA Champions League.

So far, though, he has barely played and has done precious little in the game time he has had. As such, it is likely that an exit will be sanctioned sooner rather than later. Both player and club have privately admitted frustration, and as it stands he is unlikely to get much game time or to see his permanent deal option picked up.

As such, an exit in January would provide both player and the respective clubs with time to make a decision on what the next step should be. While just a rumour, for now it looks pretty likely that Saul Niguez will no longer be a Chelsea player in 2022.

 

Listen to any Chelsea fan who has seen Billy Gilmour play, and they will tell you he is a gem. The former Rangers academy boy left the Ibrox club in a flash to move to Stamford Bridge. The chance to play and train at one of the best academies in the world was a clear indication of what Gilmour had in mind.

Despite the Gers offering him the chance to play regularly, it did not happen, and he chose to move on as a teenager to the Premier League.

However, while the young Scot has impressed in his many cameos for Chelsea, and was even on the bench for their UEFA Champions League win, he is yet to really make it at Norwich City. A season long loan was agreed, but the Canaries were very quickly shown to be short of the level expected in the top-flight.

As such, relegation already looks a near-certainty and coach Daniel Farke, under pressure, has stopped giving a chance to Gilmour.

Indeed, the Scot has not played in the Premier League since September and looks increasingly frustrated. With key games for Scotland coming up, Gilmour will need to be playing regularly if he wishes to help his country reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup. At the moment, though, Norwich are in preservation mode and look to have given up on the idea of giving exciting young talent like Gilmour minutes.

The hope was that Norwich would play a front-geared attacking style that would suit the youngster. So far, though, it has not worked out and the frustration is clear to see. So much so that reports suggest that if Farke stays on then Gilmour will be recalled in January to avoid wasting his season.

Will Daniel Farke be moved on? Will his exit help Gilmour?

While it would be fair to say that Farke could be giving more time to Gilmour, he has to look after himself. A coach who could be sacked always wants to get players on the pitch they can trust, and a young loanee is always the hardest player to put faith in.

As such, Farke is keen to put out a midfield who can do the basics as opposed to anything extra. This has led to Gilmour being dropped, as his own performances so far were unable to live up to the expectation set out for him.

If Farke were to be sacked, though, there is nothing to say it would help Gilmour. Norwich would likely appoint a short-term firefighter who is even less likely to make room for an exciting ball-playing midfielder.

At the moment, then, the entire move looks to have been a mistake. Farke was quick to find out that his second attempt at success with Norwich in the top flight is likely to end in failure. This meant making time for a young player on loan was a hard thing to justify. As it stands, the best thing for all parties concerned would be for Gilmour to return to London and take it from there.

 

As a club that is rated as one of the most fiscally secure in Europe, Chelsea are known for having deep pockets. Blues fans have grown used to the tiresome jibes about squad sizes and loan regulations. However, despite being home to a huge number of players, the previous summer seen a huge number of names left go. From squad fillers to young players keen to start playing week-in, week-out, Chelsea sold a lot of their squad depth in the summer.

This has left the Blues with a smaller (but still large) cast of players to pick from. It has also, though, opened up the chance to sign key players to new deals.

Chelsea are expected, then, to start making moves to agree new contracts with some of their most important first-team players. One name being suggested to be in line for a new deal is N’Golo Kante. Despite being on the clubs highest earners, the Blues want to reward the French star for his commitment to the badge and thus the club.

Therefore, a new deal will be sanctioned that would likely keep Kante at the club until the end of his peak years – or even the rest of his illustrious career. Other players who are being linked with new deals include Mason Mount and Jorginho.

The former is not a surprise, as Mount has become the face of what an academy prospect can achieve at Stamford Bridge. The youngster was a standout, scoring key goals in a major season that seen the Blues wind up as European champions. Jorginho is more of a surprise, with the Italian-Brazilian long linked with a move back to Serie A.

For now, though, all of these players are in-line for contracts.

Other Chelsea stars tougher in contract in negotiations

While the club are almost certain they can land the deals that they want, there are some concerns over other players. Andreas Christensen has been locked in talks for a long time, and it is still uncertain as to whether or not he will agree terms. The Dane has become a key part of the Thomas Tuchel era, but has yet to agree new terms. If this is not resolved by the summer, then reports suggest the Blues will look to move on from the player.

Another name who is finding it harder to find agreement with the top brass at Chelsea is Antonio Rudiger. The German has been a key signing since arriving from AS Roma, and has been essential under Tuchel. The defender has quickly become recognised as a key cog, with his exceptional recovery pace and power on the ball making him a tremendous asset.

However, with no progress being made on agreeing on a deal, Rudiger could move on as early as January. The likes of FC Bayern and Real Madrid have been linked. Chelsea, then, might not be able to tie up all of their key veterans to new deals this summer – it is expected, though, that most will sign new terms.

 

As one of the longest serving players in modern Chelsea history, few players have represented the Blues quite like Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard arrived from Olympique Marseille in 2012, and has affectionately been nicknamed “Dave” over the years. The player is beloved by Blues fans all around the world, becoming a critical replacement for club legend Branislav Ivanovic. Since his debut in the League Cup against Wolverhampton Wanderers to today, ‘Dave’ has become a true fan favourite.

The player has won much in his time at the club, in both team trophies and personal accolades. Having joined after the club won the 2012 UEFA Champions League, he added the 2021 edition to his own personal haul of leagues and domestic cups as well as a pair of UEFA Europa League trophies. He is one of the most decorated players in the history of Chelsea.

Having seen so much at Stamford Bridge, then, the player knows what it takes to win in a season for the champions of Europe. And with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku, Azpilicueta is surer than ever that success is just around the corner.

What did Cesar Azpilicueta say about Romelu Lukaku?

Both players signed for Chelsea amid the warm glow of the 2012 European success. However, while the Spaniard has become a club legend, Lukaku left for a series of loans before eventually arriving in Manchester and then Milan before a club-record return to his boyhood club. It has been a long journey spanning close to a decade, but Azpilicueta believes that the time is now right for Lukaku to thrive in blue.

Speaking ahead of the UEFA Champions League tie against Zenit St. Petersburg, Azpilicueta told the press that he believes Lukaku is better than ever, stating: “The club always tries to improve the team every year and of course, Romelu is a great addition to the team,” added Azpilicueta.

“His experience, his desire, his ambition to help the team, of course we feel stronger as he gives us confidence. A new addition always helps, adds quality to the team.

“Romelu is a great personality, character and a great leader. He is very vocal, ambitious, he helps everybody. With his presence, you respect him. When the defenders see him, they know he is a big lad, powerful, who can create chances any time.”

It is not just Lukaku that has brought excitement to the team, though. The Spaniard, who has 32 caps for his country, believes the entire squad is brimming with talent.

Remarking on this, Azpilicueta added: “I see this squad with great potential, ambition. We have healthy competition and a good group of lads that train hard and go forward because we have an exciting season ahead of us and we want to fight for everything.

“It is just about winning trophies and the biggest one you can get. The Champions League is the biggest, but I always felt since I arrived here that Chelsea fights for every trophy. We go into every competition with a fully focused mind on getting as far as possible.

“Every year is more and more difficult. Coming in as champions of Europe will mean every team will want to beat us and we will have to be ready for it.”

Chelsea fans, then, should feel positive about the optimism and confidence that is coming from the Chelsea dressing room.

 

As one of the most interesting teams in Europe this summer, A.S. Roma have eyes on them like never before. The arrival of Jose Mourinho as coach has fans, especially Chelsea fans, intrigued. Though the Portuguese holds a rather strained relationship with Blues fans these days, few will ever forget the positives over his two spells as Chelsea coach. However, the manager clearly has a stronger rapport with those at the top of the club than some would have assumed, as he has made moves this summer involving Chelsea.

Already, Mourinho has picked up Tammy Abraham to help lead his Serie A side back into the UEFA Champions League. The loss of Edin Dzeko has seen the Giallorossi get to work on a new striker, with Abraham arriving a potential deal for Andrea Belotti being suggested. However, midfield is a key area of concern, and it is believed that Mourinho is keen to bag a player without much future at the club – Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The powerhouse was once compared to Michael Ballack, but has failed to build on a very interesting start to his career. Injuries and consistency issues have blighted his career so far, but a move to the Olimpico would offer Loftus-Cheek a fresh start.

Much like Abraham, he would be moving to a continental capital whilst playing for one of the most storied clubs in Italian football. Mourinho would also be able to offer more regular gametime, with Roma in the process of reshaping their midfield this summer. A rather middling spell at Fulham last year done little to ignite interest across the Premier League for Loftus-Cheek, meaning that a move to Italy might be the best bet for both player and club to find a solution.

Why is Loftus-Cheek set to leave Chelsea?

With so many academy players in and around the Blues first team these days, some are surprised that a player who is a natural fit in the Premier League is being discarded. His natural running power and height make him a hard player to get off the ball, and his excellent technique and distance shooting make him an unconventional threat.

However, the player has never seen enough playing time at Chelsea. Now in his early 20s, it is time for the player to find a full-time home an build a proper CV for himself. Loans at clubs like Crystal Palace have been useful, but Loftus-Cheek has lost too many weeks of his career to injury and loss of form. A chance to try out a new culture and to play for a club that expects to win most of its games make Roma feel like the ideal fit.

Add in that he has a former Blues coach who has a preference for midfielders of his ilk, and this might make the most sense of any of the moves that Loftus-Cheek has been linked with this summer. Expect a move to happen prior to the end of the transfer window.

 

Having watched Emerson enjoy a strong UEFA Euro 2020 campaign, filling in for the long-term injured Leonardo Spinazzola, Chelsea fans might be surprised to see the exit coming. The Brazilian-born Italian international has been involved in many squads under Thomas Tuchel.

However, the return to form of Marcos Alonso as well as Ben Chilwell means that Emerson is pushed further down the pecking order.

Now, the player has made clear that he wants to go. He has been linked with several clubs in Italy, but is also close to joining Lyon in France. The French giants are seen as keen to make the deal stick, having enjoyed great success with Mattia De Sciglio last summer.

Emerson, though, has made clear that he would like to make a move to a team who can offer him an exciting project this summer.

Though well-liked by Blues fans, it is likely that the end is near for the player. Having arrived as a squad option, Emerson has more than filled in his role as a reliable player on the wings for Chelsea. However, with the need to keep playing regular game-time to stay in a stacked Italy side, an excit is near.

What did Emerson say about leaving?

The player has been speaking to media back home in Brazil, and was quoted as saying to ESPN Brasil: “I know it’s not easy, but I’m hungry to play. I want to play, I know I can be out on the pitch, I’ve proved that.

“So I’m going to do everything I can to be on the pitch. Of course, I still have two more years on my contract with Chelsea, which is a great club. I’ve already proved that I can play here, but at the same time I want to be on the pitch. I want to play, I want to feel important, like I already did.

“I want to have the same feeling I felt when I scored against Atlético Madrid, to have the same feeling when I won the Champions League.”

When asked about where he would like to go next, Emerson was clear that the choice would be his, saying: “And I will really choose the best option. If it’s to stay at Chelsea, if it happens to Napoli or another team.

“I still have another 25 days practically to think about it, to be able to choose the best, the best place. Where they really want me, want me happy. Last season I didn’t have the opportunity to maybe choose, to maybe have another option.

“Today, I have others, I can choose, I have time to choose, so for sure next season will be the way I choose, not how things arrive and I have to accept them. I will do everything to choose the best option, which is the one of being on the pitch as many times as possible.”

Expect the Blues to be short of one Euro winner come the end of the transfer window, then.

 

As one of the biggest clubs in the English game, Chelsea are always involved in major deals. Having fought so hard to land a marquee striker this summer, it looks like the arrival of Romelu Lukaku will happen after all. The impressive Belgian has a history with the Blues, and could be set to return from Internazionale in a major money move. However, the interesting part of the transfer comes from how the team will be balanced out. With Timo Werner the previous marquee striking acquisition, how will the club find a way to play both without causing friction?

Also, Chelsea will be looking to offload some of their other strikers to bring in funding for future signings. One player destined to leave is Tammy Abraham. England forward has failed to convince Thomas Tuchel that he is worth keeping, and now looks set to leave the club in an expensive deal. However, the player has found it tough to locate a suitor who is good for both player and club. Arsenal have been heavily linked, but it would require some changing at the Gunners top-end to make the funds available.

Another name who has been heavily linked with Abraham is that of Aston Villa. Abraham previously played for the Birmingham side, scoring key goals as they returned to the Premier League. However, he rejected the chance to go back to Villa before, and might do so again as he looks to move to a team who could be competing for European honours – or at least a spot in Europe, as Arsenal would be.

It is likely that Abraham will move on regardless of whether or not a new marquee forward arrives. Both player and club are keen to start afresh.

What if Chelsea cannot land a marquee striker?

Despite reports in England and in Italy suggesting that a move for Lukaku is close to completion, there is always doubt. This could see the Blues sell a key academy striker and fail to replace him with a better player. As such, this could create an issue whereby Abraham sticks around long enough for Chelsea to buy his replacement – meaning he misses out on a pre-season with his new team entirely.

This makes it hard for Chelsea to find a deal that suits themselves, their new prospective arrival, and Abraham. As a well-liked part of the squad and a beacon of progress for the Chelsea academy, then, this becomes an interesting talking point.

Things change on a regular basis for players, and Abraham is no stranger to Chelsea’s volatile transfer nature. It was their own transfer issues that even seen him get a chance at the club, with the transfer embargo playing a key role.

As such, expect both player and club to be ready – and willing – to wait for this one out. However, the striking talent at the club is almost certain to change before the start of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

 

Having seen a squad that looked in need of a blow-up win the UEFA Champions League, the mood music at Chelsea is hugely positive. This has led to talks with various players who might have otherwise moved on. Contract negotiations are taking place at the moment with several first-team regulars, and among them includes Italian international Jorginho. The midfield playmaker was a crucial part of the turnaround under Thomas Tuchel, and is now seen as a ‘priority’ target for Chelsea.

Though the Blues are keen on making a litany of new signings this summer, including a marquee striker, it is believed that new contracts for first team mainstays is also a major part of this summers plans. According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, then, Chelsea have made getting a deal for Jorginho tied up among their top priorities.

Linked with various teams in Italy, including Juventus, it was expected for much of last season that this would be the final season in England for Jorginho. That, though, looks to have changed. A huge upsurge in form and a natural fit with the ball dominant style of Tuchel makes keeping Jorginho a priority for the Blues.

Expect some moves to take place this summer, then, as the club look to tie up key talent whilst also bringing in a host of new players who can contribute for the long-term. Veterans, though, are expected to be rewarded.

Will Chelsea get Jorginho to sign a new deal?

It appears so. The player, fresh off winning the UEFA European Championships with Italy, has become a much more respected figure in the English game this season. Seen as a luxury excess that was part of the failed Maurizio Sarri experiment, Chelsea fans have waited some time to see the best of Jorginho. His imperious form under Tuchel, though, was enough to have fans convinced that he should stick around.

And, crucially, the player now looks much happier with far less noise coming from his representatives about a return to the Italian game. According to Romano, though, the deal to get Jorginho tied-up is now seen as a crucial part of the summer build. Speaking on his Here We Go podcast, Romano said of the new deal: “Chelsea are working on Jorginho’s contract as one of the priorities this summer and the coming months,

“They want to Jorginho to stay. He has a contract until 2023 but they are already talking with him over a potential extension. It will take some time because Chelsea usually works with calm in these situations.”

For fans, then, this should be good news as it will see key players signed up for the long-term. Other players in line for new deals include the expiring Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, and Cesar Azpilicueta. The trio were key defensive performers under Tuchel, and will be expected to pen new deals as they continue to play a key role in the team that is being built.

 

While a club that wins the UEFA Champions League is declared the best in Europe, it is rare they stand still. Liverpool are one of the few examples of a team not building after European glory and still progressing. Chelsea, though, are unlikely to follow the example of their rivals. Though talks with Achraf Hakimi have likely died out, there are some very intriguing names being mentioned as potential signings. Indeed, there has been talk that the Blues might commit well in excess of £100 on two Premier League proven stars this summer. Who are Chelsea being linked with?

Adama Traore

Traore is believed to have had fans at Stamford Bridge for years, but his rebirth at Molineux with Wolverhampton Wanderers has been stratospheric. Now, the Spain international regularly plays for his country, and has shown more than enough in his time in England to earn a move to one of the elite of the English game.

Reporters close to the club suggest that with a move for Hakimi dead, Traore will be next in-line. It would be an exciting move, offering another pacey wing-back with an eye for goal and who would offer more power on the break. Given how well the Chelsea team is set up to dominate and to counter attack, Traore is another two-way player who is equally suited to either style of play. Naturally, this has fans excited about what comes next – a real powerhouse wide option on the right-hand side.

Though the right wing-back slot was one shared by numerous names last year, it is believed that Tuchel wants a de facto first choice for every position and sees Traore as the ideal pick to challenge for if they have to pull out of any move for Hakimi.

Declan Rice

Long linked with a move to Chelsea again, former academy boy and boyhood Chelsea fan Declan Rice will likely be targeted again. Seen as the ideal choice as he can play in midfield or in a back three, Rice would offer Chelsea a consistent option in midfield. It would also open up the chance to move on two inconsistent first-team options in Mateo Kovacic and, somewhat controversially, Jorginho.

The former has struggled to ever really show his best form in England, while the latter has been noted on more than one occasion as eyeing a move to Italy again. Though both players for under contract for the long-term, the arrival of Rice would allow for one – or both – names to be moved on, giving Chelsea a different midfield make-up compared to what they have at this current moment in time.

As a hard-hitting defensive midfielder who can read the game and contribute offensively, Rice would be the ideal long-term addition. In fact, his arrival would have shades of the arrival of Frank Lampard; a long-term option that the midfield could be configured around as an ever-present for much, if not all, of the next decade to come.

 

While a club that has just won the UEFA Champions League often does not need much work, Chelsea are a different story. While Blues fans revelled in the work done by Thomas Tuchel as he took the club from outside the top four to UCL glory, Chelsea are on the lookout for a new creative spark as well as a clinical new central striker. For the former position, though, a new name has emerged: Jack Grealish.

Despite boasting a series of creative talents including the likes of Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech alongside prospects like Billy Gilmour, as well as USMNT star Christian Pulisic, Chelsea are believed to have ‘concrete’ interest in making a move for the Villa playmaker. In his two years in the top-flight with Villa, Grealish has shown an incredible level of development. Upon relegation with Villa, he was seen as unfocused and inconsistent; today, he is rated as one of the most clutch attacking options in the English leagues.

Part of the interest from Chelsea stems from the lack of form of Ziyech. The Moroccan arrived from AFC Ajax at great expense, but has so far sporadically lived up to expectation. As such, Chelsea could look to flip the player to La Liga or Serie A, where has numerous admirers, and pick up Grealish instead. The player is believed to have immense interest from the top sides in England, but could be seen as the ideal pick for a Chelsea team that needs a primary playmaker.

For Grealish, it would offer the chance to play for a title winning club, link up with numerous England teammates, and live in London. With Chelsea a returning force at the top of the English game, the project could be too good to say no to.

Will Chelsea make a move for Jack Grealish?

All reports suggest that they will. With primary target Erling Haaland seemingly a no-show this summer, Chelsea might look to sign another playmaker whilst they wait for their prime central forward target to become available. The fee to get Grealish will likely be in the region of £80-100m, given his form and his contract situation. However, with Timo Werner showing up at the end of the season, Chelsea might find themselves willing to wait for a year and see how Werner does when surrounded by even better service.

A pure playmaker, Grealish can also hustle on defence and score goals from set-plays and from distance. He would offer Chelsea a creative spark that would work perfectly with a squad loaded with creative players, midfield runners, and high movement. Seen as the ideal fit for a Thomas Tuchel side, the arrival of Grealish would be a game-changer for the club.

Blues fans, then, will be hoping that this does not become another summer where marquee talent like Grealish slips through the net and signs for rivals. The club has just won the UCL; the time to strike is now, when the club is seen as an elite destination to top talent like Grealish.