Chelsea: Centerback, holding mid, or a goal scorer first?

It was pretty apparent Chelsea needed a holding midfielder, a new keeper, and defensive reinforcements at left back and centerback last summer. All and all, the Blues did pretty well. Ben Chilwell was handpicked by Frank Lampard, Edouard Mendy by Chelsea’s keeper coaches and Petr Cech, and the Blues did good business signing Thiago Silva as a free agent even if it was a short term solution.

But as the window closed and the transfer fees ramped up, Chelsea started to paint themselves into a corner. A holding midfielder was still needed, but Kai Havertz was there for the taking. The Blues made a decision and snapped up what could be one of the game’s best players of the upcoming generation. Was he needed? Nope but that was to be sorted out later.

Chelsea has needs this window too, with less cash to throw around and more rivals to compete. The question becomes who do the Blues prioritize? Or rather, who should they?

Based on every rumor, goal scorer is the priority. There should, however, be two considerations in regards to that. The first is Chelsea is pretty loaded for attackers at the moment. Should any find the right scoring form, a scorer won’t be needed to further clog the pipeline. The second consideration is most of the top targets are inching towards being unavailable.

Dortmund is adamant that Erling Haaland will remain in Germany. Given they held on to Jadon Sancho last summer in a similar situation, they can be believed. Romelu Lukaku seems willing to die for Antonio Conte now that they have a title, so even with Inter’s debt that may be tricky. Finally, Sergio Aguero seems set for Barcelona and even if not his injury history is a concern.

What does that leave Chelsea with? Plan B options. If goals are what is needed, Chelsea already has plan B options on the books that could prove themselves. No need to add another body to that just to add another body. If Chelsea can’t get a proven, super star scorer, they should put the issue on the back burner for other spots. No need to create another Havertz or Declan Rice situation.

Chelsea has also been linked to centerbacks and holding mids, though neither very strongly compared to the striker targets. The real complication with either is what Thomas Tuchel envisions for the future of this Chelsea team. Does 3-4-2-1/3-4-1-2 stay? Does he try to start using a 4-2-2-2, 4-2-3-1, or 4-3-3? The former could use a new centerback of the right mold more than another midfielder. That latter would be the opposite.

The assumption is Tuchel would likely want players like Marquinhos that allow him to swap seamlessly between four and three at the back without the need of a substitute. Rice could probably do that should he remain a target, but the price hasn’t dropped and that may deter the Blues. After all, no point in dropping 80 million or more on Rice if it means the other necessary targets can’t be afforded anymore.

The only caveat there is there have been no solid centerback or holding mid rumors. Names float in and out of papers as they tend to do, but none have stuck to indicate there is anything to them.

So, for the time being a new scorer remains priority one. Overall though, the Blues shouldn’t buy just to buy for that position. If the superstars are no longer available, Chelsea should shift their focus further back on the pitch. Who they go for may be down to Tuchel’s plans and future, but either a centerback or a midfielder would be a wiser investment than a striker the club settles for.