As one of the most prolific squad builders in the world, Chelsea have become notorious for their stocking of players. Often, the club can have as much as two full playing squads out on loan at any one time; often loaning out international worth millions of pounds in transfer fees. However, while the days of hoarding talent might stick around for a while yet, the days of keeping veterans around beyond their value might become a thing of the past. This comes as reports suggest new coach Thomas Tuchel wants a clear-out.
This would involve a lot of serious changes to the first-team playing staff, including the removal of some key veterans. One player who might be concerned is Thiago Silva. Despite been excellent since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain – where Tuchel coached him previously – it is believed that the German might prefer a younger defender to build around. Though the Blues can extend his deal by another year, what was once previously seen as a sure-thing is now more of a discussion point within Cobham.
Another talking point around the club extends around the potential exit of Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman, 34, is entering the final years of his career. With his contract set to run out and an increasing in-out nature to his game-time at Chelsea, it is likely that the Frenchman will move on in search of regular game-time. Despite scoring 9 goals in just 20 games this year, it is likely that Tuchel will look to divide games up to around the younger forwards at the club.
Chelsea expected to shed some squad depth
The Blues have been known for carrying squads often built around older, ‘win now’ talent that can bring trophies today at the expense of tomorrow. The last five years, though, has seen a conscious shift towards the signing of younger players who can stay in London for years to come. The last summer signings, headlined by the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz, show a long-term strategy. This, though, might mean having to move on some veteran players to make space.
The aim, it is believed, is to get rid of as many over-30 players as is possible. Other veteran names, including well-liked N’Golo Kante, could be seen as a player who could be moved on in the near future to make space for a younger player. Other players, such as Jorginho and Cesar Azpilicueta, could be likely to also move on as the club looks to make space for its next generation.
Thanks to the growing number of younger players around the squad, including players like Billy Gilmour, there is a chance for Chelsea to build a team that could last for many years to come. The challenge for the club, though, stems from coming up with the right blend of players to keep, move on, and replace.
Make no mistake – this will be a massive undertaking for the club; one that requires no shortage of effort and commitment. Given the change in policy, though, it might be the only way to move forward sustainably.