With Mauricio Pochettino expected to become Chelsea’s new manager very soon, let’s take a look at how the Blues could line up under the Argentine.
Plenty of rumours have come out recently about possible incomings, so we could be seeing a much-changed Chelsea side and it’ll be very interesting to see how Pochettino transforms the Blues.
GK – Andre Onana (Inter Milan)
The goalkeeper position is one that will likely see change this summer with Kepa and Edouard Mendy’s futures at Stamford Bridge in the balance.
Emi Martinez of Aston Villa has been linked to the Blues by The Daily Mirror, but whether Villa would let him go to a league rival is another question.
Onana has been touted for a move away from Inter recently
As a result, Onana of Inter Milan could be the next best option. A couple of weeks ago, Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph reported that the Blues are keen on pursuing a deal for the Cameroonian, who could be available for just £40million.
At 27, he has time on his side and with Inter needing to sell this summer, Onana could be a sensible option.
LB – Ben Chilwell
Having signed a new contract at SW6 in April which will keep him at the club until 2027, Chilwell’s likely to be Chelsea’s starting left-back for the next few seasons.
The 26-year old has shown his best form while playing as a left wing-back in a back three and with Pochettino expected to transition the squad to a back four upon his arrival, Chilwell may have to adapt his game to ensure he remains the best version of himself.
LCB – Benoit Badiashile
When Badiashile signed for the Blues in January, not many knew what to expect from the Frenchman but he has surprised everyone, looking mightily comfortable on the left side of defence.
With fellow left-footed defender Levi Colwill expected to play an important part at Chelsea next season, I would expect Badiashile to take the role of first-choice at left centre-back, purely for being a more experienced head and having time to settle since arriving at the start of the year.
RCB – Wesley Fofana
Another Frenchman now and 22-year old Fofana is another man who has seriously impressed since his arrival at the club from Leicester.
Since joining in the summer, Fofana has had to deal with a couple of injury issues but in the 19 matches he’s played in all competitions is it very easy to understand why Chelsea spent £70million to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
In a rather drab season, Fofana has been one of the few shining lights for the Blues
With questions surrounding the future of Kalidou Koulibaly who has failed to settle at Chelsea, I think Pochettino would be more than content with having what could become one of the best centre-back pairings in Europe next season if they remain injury free.
RB – Reece James
Contracted to the club until 2028, James won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Granted, this season hasn’t been one of his best in terms of performance and output as he has had to deal with a recurring hamstring injury – and is now out for the season – but when fully fit he is comfortable one of the best, if not the best right-back in Europe.
James and Chilwell’s elite-level performances as Chelsea’s wingbacks in the Champions League winning campaign of 2020/21 were key to their successes on the way to Porto and Chelsea will be praying that next season, they can go a season without any issues because when they’re absent, Chelsea are a different team, and not in a good way.
CM – Romeo Lavia (Southampton)
Will Chelsea’s desperate need for a defensive midfielder be fulfilled this summer? Their fans will certainly hope so, with this being arguably the position in most need of attention ahead of next season. The Blues have sorely missed that deep-lying, destroyer-type player who in all honesty, they haven’t replaced since the days of Nemanja Matic, who left the club in 2017.
As a result, Lavia could be a realistic addition for the Blues. Southampton will find themselves as a hub for plenty of transfer activity this summer having had their relegation to the Championship confirmed over the weekend and Lavia is expected to receive plenty of interest.
Lavia is expected to remain in the Premier League next season
Chelsea’s interest in the Belgian youngster is serious, having had a £50million bid turned down by the Saints for him in September, while Football Insider reported at the end of April that the Blues are continuing their efforts to prise him away from the south coast.
With the Saints likely to see an exodus of players this summer, Chelsea will feel much more confident in landing the 19-year old now Ruben Selles’ side are no longer a top-flight club.
CM – Enzo Fernandez
Fernandez has slotted in superbly to Chelsea’s midfield and has performed well, even when asked to play as the deepest-lying midfielder for the Blues.
With the players Chelsea have at their disposal right now, it’s understandable why Fernandez has been tasked with playing as the No.6, but with the Blues hopeful of signing an out-and-out defensive midfielder, the 22-year old will surely be licking his lips at the prospect of playing in a midfield pairing which brought out the best of him at Benfica.
LM – Mykhailo Mudryk
Signing for the Blues in mid-January and bringing Arsenal’s fans’ dreams of signing him crashing down, Mudryk is still finding his feet in England, with just three assists to his name so far in 13 appearances at SW6.
Arriving at the start of the New Year having played no football since November 23rd, you can perhaps forgive him for taking time to adapt to a new division that is a huge step up the Ukrainian league, but with a full preseason under his belt, I’m confident he will kick on and start performing the way that Chelsea expected him to when they brought him in from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Journalist Rob Pratley reported at the back end of April that Pochettino highlighted Mudryk as a key player for the Blues during his negotiations with Chelsea, and that he views him similar to Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura, who were very direct in their play under the Argentine at Spurs so if that’s anything to go by, Mudryk could be set for a breakout Premier League year next season.
CAM – Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig, will join Chelsea on July 1st)
In the midst of Chelsea’s poor season, it’s easy to forget that Nkunku is joining the Blues this summer after they agreed a deal to bring the Frenchman to Stamford Bridge in December.
Despite missing 13 matches through injury this season, Nkunku has still managed to register 19 goals and seven assists in 33 matches in all competitions.
Nkunku has 13 Bundesliga goals in 23 matches this season
Able to play as an attacking midfielder, a second striker, and even as a winger, the 25-year old could take on the role behind the striker that Dele Alli played so well in at Spurs under Pochettino, and if Mount doesn’t end up staying at Chelsea this summer, Nkunku will surely be the man to take his place in that central role.
RM – Noni Madueke
Continuing the theme of a young squad, Noni Madueke has shown recently that he has what it takes to be Chelsea’s starting right winger going forward.
His direct, 1v1 take on nature is something refreshing to see and I don’t think it’ll be easy for Raheem Sterling to secure his place as the starter in this position next year.
At 20 years of age, Madueke has more than enough time on his side to make a name for himself as a Blue and like Mudryk, we could be seeing a much more confident, refined version of the Englishman next season.
ST – Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
Last but not least, the dreaded striker position. Could Martinez be the man that finally delivers the goals that Chelsea have been after for so long?
The Daily Mail reported on Saturday that the 25-year old is one of the Argentine’s prime targets this summer and is valued at €80million by Transfermarkt, which is understandable while he still has three years left on his contract at Inter Milan.
A strong, impressive finisher, Martinez’s 24 goals in all competitions this season have seen him take a step closer to his best season tally of 25 which he set in 2021/22.
Could Martinez link up with fellow Argentine Pochettino at Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea’s lack of European football could be a slight hitch in their chase for the Inter man, but hopefully the Argentinian connection between Pochettino and Martinez will strengthen their chances of signing the Serie A man.
So there we have it. The team Pochettino could line up with going into next season, and that’s without including the likes of:
Some of these names along with a few more may or may not be at the club come the first game of the season but even so, Pochettino will still have a wealth of talent at his disposal and it’ll be very intriguing to see what he can do with the team next year.
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