The transfer window is now shut, drawing to a close one of the most hectic summer of deals in recent years. Clubs have concluded their business, hoping that they have done enough to improve their squads to the desired level, knowing that they will have to make do with their teams until January. In the case of Chelsea, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The Blues now have a simply frightening squad depth, with multiple quality players filling every position across the pitch. Thomas Tuchel will take comfort in the knowledge that, should anyone get injured, he has more than adequate cover to replace them.
Chelsea Transfer Window Reviewed: Have the Blues Propelled Themselves to Title Favourites?
Chelsea Transfer Window: The Ins
Romelu Lukaku – £97.5 Million From Inter Milan
Owner Roman Abramovich is well accustomed to splashing big bucks on star players. This summer was no different. He broke Chelsea’s transfer record, spending £97.5 million to bring Romelu Lukaku in from Inter Milan.
Despite winning the Champions League last season, Chelsea were in desperate need of a striker. Only once under Tuchel had they scored more than two goals in a game. Moreover, their top scorer in the Premier League was Jorginho, with just seven goals, all from the penalty spot.
Lukaku has been a proven goalscorer wherever he’s played since leaving Stamford Bridge seven years ago. The 28-year-old’s 24 league goals helped Inter Milan secure the Serie A title last season. Lukaku has already shown a sign of what’s to come, scoring in a bullish debut against Arsenal.
Saul Niguez – £4 Million Loan From Atletico Madrid
They left it late, unnecessarily late, but Chelsea did eventually add Saul Niguez to their bolstering selection of central-midfielders. You could argue that Chelsea now have the best midfield in the world: Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, and now Saul, will all fight for the two centre-mid spots in Tuchel’s 3-4-3 formation.
With the brutal fixture schedule, and the inevitable prospect of injuries, Saul’s addition is a welcome, smart and low-risk move. If he’s good, Chelsea can choose to activate their €40 million buy option. If he’s not-so-good, Chelsea can ship him back to Atletico Madrid, paving the way for a more developed Billy Gilmour or Conor Gallagher to take his place.
Chelsea Transfer Window: The Major Outs
Tammy Abraham – £34 Million to Roma
An unfortunate casualty of Lukaku’s arrival, Tammy Abraham has seeked a new pasture in Italy. Abraham played just seven times under Tuchel, and understandably has chosen to move somewhere he will play regularly. He has linked up with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, and made an impressive start, scoring once and assisting twice in his first two Serie A appearances.
Kurt Zouma – £30 Million to West Ham
One of their longer serving players, Kurt Zouma has swapped West London for East, joining West Ham United. Zouma made 151 appearances across his seven-year association with the Blues. Given Trevor Chalobah’s rise to prominence, Zouma was facing limited playing time moving forward. He’s still only 26, so has several good years ahead of him at West Ham.
Fikayo Tomori – £26 Million to AC Milan
From one centre-back to another, Fikayo Tomori made a permanent switch to AC Milan following a successful loan spell in 2020/21. Whilst Abraham failed to impress Tuchel, Tomori failed to impress his predecessor, Frank Lampard. He played just 234 minutes before January in 2020/21, however became an instant favourite in Milan. Tomori has chosen to continue his development in Milan, much to the disgruntlement of many Chelsea fans.
Marc Guehi – £21 Million to Crystal Palace
Another academy graduate, Marc Guehi made a permanent move across London to Crystal Palace. Unlike Tomori, Guehi failed to make a dent in the Chelsea squad, making only two League Cup appearances in 2019. He was, however, a major part of the Swansea side that reached the Championship Play-Off final last season.
Olivier Giroud – £1 Million to AC Milan
Like Abraham, Olivier Giroud has moved to Italy following Lukaku’s big-money move. Giroud started only five times under Tuchel, and, given the fact that he turns 35 later this month, it is understandable that Tuchel wasn’t planning to keep him around. He will be fondly remembered by Chelsea fans, especially for his 11 goals as they achieved Europa League glory in 2019.
Billy Gilmour – Loan to Norwich
Billy Gilmour has been a tantalising prospect ever since his consecutive man-of-the-match performances against Liverpool and Everton in March 2020. However, he has received sporadic game-time ever since. He will play for newly-promoted Norwich City, and looks set to have a starring role as they look to avoid relegation.
Conor Gallagher – Loan to Crystal Palace
Like Gilmour, Conor Gallagher is a talented young player on the fringes of the Chelsea first-team. He impressed at West Bromwich Albion last season, and will link up with Patrick Vieira’s new-look Crystal Palace side for 2020/21. He has made an impressive start, too, scoring their only Premier League goals so far, in their 2-2 draw with West Ham.
Tino Livramento – £5 Million to Southampton
Chelsea have lost another youngster, albeit slightly less well-know, in Tino Livramento. The 18-year-old joined Southampton for just £5 million, and has already proved his worth to the Saints. He has played every minute in the Premier League so far, instantly becoming a fan favourite. Chelsea have included a £25 million buy-back clause in the deal.
Overall, it was a solid transfer window for Chelsea. Their priority was to buy a 20-goal-a-season striker, and they found that in Romelu Lukaku. The transfer fee was a big one, and a slightly embarrassing one considering Chelsea let him go seven years ago. However, he guarantees goals, bringing in arguably the one thing Chelsea were missing last season. If his debut against Arsenal is anything to go by, he will be a nightmare for defenders this season.
The addition of Saul means they are now overloaded with quality centre-midfielders. Whilst he’s a great player, they should have placed more focus on bringing a centre-back in, however. The current crop of centre-backs are Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Christensen, Rudiger, and Chalobah.
On paper, that seems pretty light, and not quite up to the standard of the rest of squad. Signing Jules Kounde would have significantly improved the back-line. However, since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival in January, no-one has a better defence than Chelsea. They kept 19 clean sheets in 31 games, so maybe their defence is fine for another year.
The most disappointing aspect of Chelsea’s business, is the number of youngsters that have left permanently. Abraham, Tomori, Guehi and Livramento all probably could have remained as useful squad players. They all have very bright futures, and selling them could come back to bite the Blues. Because of their bright futures, Chelsea have included buy-back clauses on all these players except Tomori.
Are Chelsea Now Title Favourites?
Despite these sales, Chelsea’s squad certainly hasn’t been weakened over the summer. Their squad depth was frightening last season, and is just as strong, if not stronger now. Saul’s arrival means that their midfield, in particular, is a force to be reckoned with.
Considering the improvements they made under Tuchel following his arrival, Chelsea came into the season considered as title challengers already. There was just one piece of the puzzle missing. They desperately needed a goalscorer, and got a brilliant one in Lukaku. That one signing alone, propels them to a whole new level.
Yet still, it is hard to consider them title favourites, especially when you look at the two Manchester clubs. Manchester City continue to be the ruthless side we’ve become accustomed to. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United, gives them a superstar capable of winning matches virtually on his own.
Despite Tuchel winning the Champions League last season, he is still very new to the job. He’s got Chelsea playing very well, but there will almost inevitably be some setbacks along the way. So, no, Chelsea probably are not favourites for the Premier League title this season. However, the title is the aim, and the Chelsea squad is now more than capable of becoming English champions again after the transfer window.
Embed from Getty Images