SOCCER

Raheem Sterling, a determined Conor Gallagher, and major defensive reinforcements are needed

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Chelsea are next to the plate in the transfer window with the £50m signing of Raheem Sterling as the new era under Todd Boehly begins.

The Blues are expected to complete a deal for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly in the coming days and they are targeting more names to strengthen their squad.

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Boss Thomas Tuchel has also added to his squad just after Conor Gallagher returned from his impressive loan spell with Crystal Palace and declared his desire to fight for a place in the team.

sports mail examines the strength and depth of the Blues’ current squad, the areas they still need to do business with and the players they need to try and improve this season.

Chelsea are out of place in the window with the £50m signing of Raheem Sterling

Conor Gallagher returned to the Blues with a desire to stay and fight for a place in the team

GUARDIANS

It’s clear the Blues see Edouard Mendy as their first-choice goalkeeper, despite the £70million price tag on Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Tuchel manages to juggle game time to involve both shooters, with the Spaniard taking charge of a huge chunk of cup matches, and of course coming on in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Speculation will of course surround Kepa due to the cost being so high and the fact that he will only become a second-choice goalkeeper.

However, it does give Chelsea options and three first-team goalkeepers installed in the squad, meaning it’s an area they can avoid diving into the transfer market or disrupting things. .

Most teams would be happy to have a combination of Mendy, Kepa and Marcus Bettenelli and it allows them to shoot for different competitions.

Edouard Mendy is the first choice goalkeeper

£70million Kepa Arrizabalaga is considered No.2

Chelsea have a strong goalkeeping department with Edouard Mendy (left), Kepa Arrizabalaga (right) and Marcus Bettenelli

DEFENSE

In defense, it is a huge area that Tuchel wants to improve and strengthen, and probably the position as well as in attack where the Blues are less numerous.

The Blues have been linked with a host of top defenders and are expected to push to sign at least two new centre-backs with a £34m move for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly coming close.

They were chasing Nathan Ake but it looks like he is set to stay at rivals Manchester City, with Sevilla star Jules Kounde once again becoming a prime target.

A £34m deal for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly (pictured) is getting closer

At the heart of the defence, they have already lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively – creating a need to fill the void.

Given they play three at the back, options are needed, and they still have Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and the emerging Trevor Chalobah who worked his way into the first team last season.

Other than that, they are now extremely lightweight, they have Cesar Azpilicueta which can fit on the right side or right back.

Options are needed at centre-back, with experienced Thiago Silva the main choice

Options are needed at centre-back, with experienced Thiago Silva the main choice

But unless Tuchel backs youngsters Ethan Ampadu and Matt Miazga who have returned from loan spells, he must sign centre-backs.

At the back it’s a very different story and at left-back they need to have clearance with Ben Chilwell, Marcos Alonso, Emerson and Baba Rahman all filling that position.

Rahman is seen as the one the Blues should move on and maybe even Emerson as neither of them have managed to impress since arriving, although if Alonso gets his wish to leave then they might be forced to keep the one of those two or sign someone new.

At right-back, provided they can keep captain Azpilicueta, who has an interest from Barcelona, ​​they are then ready with the options of him and Reece James.

MIDFIELDER

Spoiled for choice is the best way to describe Chelsea’s midfield and if anything, they just need to clean up a few bodies to free up some space in the squad.

Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount are the most used players in midfield and all are rated as elite players.

England international Conor Gallagher has also returned to the club after his impressive loan spell at Crystal Palace and he is keen to stay at Stamford Bridge to challenge for a job.

Gallagher will provide fierce competition for the likes of Jorginho, Mason Mount and Co

Gallagher will provide fierce competition for the likes of Jorginho, Mason Mount and Co

His form last season would suggest he will leapfrog others in terms of the pecking order, including Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley, Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin.

One would expect someone to make room or perhaps Gilmour and Anjorin to be sent out on loan again to free up space in the squad, the latter has even been linked with Everton this week.

Loftus-Cheek and Barkley were used only sparingly for many years at Chelsea, which saw them go from England regulars to even being out of contention most of the time for club and country.

Ross Barkley (left) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (right) may both want to seek regular football

Ross Barkley (left) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (right) may both want to seek regular football

One, if not both, of them could be heading for the exit door in search of regular first-team action to boost their careers.

At the same time, to succeed in the Premier League, you need options and depth to be able to compete on all fronts, so they won’t want to let go.

Loftus-Cheek and Barkley consistently played their part in some cup games and off the bench throughout last season and can be considered good team players.

It makes no sense for the Blues to keep all these midfielders as the new season approaches.

OFFENSIVE

It looks like Tuchel could opt to play without a natural striker and continue to deploy Kai Havertz in that position, especially after letting Romelu Lukaku join Inter Milan on loan.

New signing Sterling could also fill that role, having played as a false nine for City on numerous occasions during his seven-year spell at the Etihad Stadium.

You imagine Havertz and Sterling are two of the top names on the offensive roster, whether the boss plays a 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1 or any other formation.

Sterling (pictured) and Kai Havertz will be boss Tuchel's main attackers this campaign

Sterling (pictured) and Kai Havertz will be boss Tuchel’s main attackers this campaign

There has been speculation around Chelsea still determined to add another attacking option with links to Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele, but both will play for Barcelona next season.

Maybe that’s one area in the team where they’re not necessarily light in numbers, but maybe short on quality.

They have Havertz, Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Armando Broja, Michy Batshuayi and Kenedy at their disposal.

Timo Werner (left) and Christian Pulisic (right) both struggled to meet their prices

Timo Werner (left) and Christian Pulisic (right) both struggled to meet their prices

Apart from Havertz and Sterling, none of them have produced much for Chelsea and Tuchel could be looking to add more, although it seems his focus is on improving the defense first and foremost.

Pulisic, Werner, Ziyech and Broja have all been linked with removals at some point this summer, but they will want to retain some of that attacking line-up to give them options off the bench and competing as a team.

Pulisic, Werner and Ziyech have arguably failed to live up to their high prices since joining Stamford Bridge while Broja is young and impressed on loan at Southampton last season and will most likely have odd chances.

Batshuayi and Kenedy, however, are well down the pecking order and should be players Chelsea are looking to develop this summer.

Michy Batshuayi (photo) and Kenedy should be at the bottom of the hierarchy

Michy Batshuayi (photo) and Kenedy should be at the bottom of the hierarchy

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