Chelsea has just 10 games left to play in the Premier League this season. Although the club is involved in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League as well, the priority for Thomas Tuchel and his team is to finish in the top four. While the German and his players continue to focus on matters on the pitch, the time has arrived for the club to start reviewing their options off it. Preparations for the next season will be getting underway soon and as such, a few decision are required to be made—who stays, who goes and who comes in?
First up, centrebacks:
Chelsea’s defence has been the big winner so far under Tuchel. The Blues have kept nine clean sheets in 11 matches across all competitions, and have conceded just once through an opposing player (Takumi Minamino of Southampton).
Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have been key to Chelsea’s newfound defensive robustness, with the latter impressing in the continued absence of Thiago Silva. Tuchel’s trust in Rudiger has enabled the German defender to flourish too, after spending months on the sideline under Frank Lampard. Both players look set to continue at Stamford Bridge next season, following months of speculation linking the pair with an exit. Kurt Zouma has been the key victim of their resurgence, combined with a tactical shift. Nonetheless, he offers plenty in terms of qualities and versatility for Chelsea to keep him around another season.
Silva has potentially been Chelsea’s signing of the season. Despite his recent injury, the club should trigger the option to extend his contract by another season and continue to take advantage of his defensive leadership and mentor qualities. As for club captain and soon to be Chelsea legend, Cesar Azpilicueta, he’s not going anywhere.
With Fikayo Tomori’s future out of the club’s hands, the focus should shift towards keeping hold of the next big academy star, Marc Guehi. The England youth international has impressed at Swansea, playing as the left centreback in a three-at-the-back system. While primarily right-footed, Guehi is capable of passing with his weaker foot too. He is strong, over six-feet tall and good on the ball—all important attributes for a modern centreback.
Guehi has been earmarked as a future leader and captain by the current Swansea head coach, Steve Cooper, whose side is vying for promotion from the Championship this season. A year out on loan in the Premier League would allow the youngster to rake in further experience. However, if the Blues fail to bring in another centreback—particularly a left-sided one—they should consider keeping Guehi around for next season to provide ample cover as they fight on multiple fronts.