By Jonathan Lewis | 4th JUNE 2021
There is something to be said for the committed loyalty of fans, even if that does mean they end up backing the underdog from time to time. For most of the season, Chelsea fans were unsure whether their team could pull off a top-four finish but remained faithful to the end, cheering them on every step of the way. Their commitment paid off, and Chelsea did indeed finish in fourth place, behind Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool in the top three spots, respectively.
Unfortunately, they also sealed the fate for Leicester City, leaving them just outside the path to Champions League group stages for next season, but in the Europa League group stage. However, pundits predict Chelsea is on the up and should be watched closely as they will be even stronger next season, possibly taking the top spot.
UEFA Champions League Final
The final hurdle for this season is the UEFA Champions League final which takes place in Portugal on Saturday, where they come up against fellow English club and EPL table leaders Manchester City.
It seems a long way for the two teams to go; however, kick-off will be at 8 PM on Saturday, and both teams are currently in their hotels in Porto waiting for the action to start, going over their plans to grab the win. It is undoubtedly a monumental occasion for Thomas Tuchel, their head coach who has only been with the club since January this year. He has certainly had a baptism by fire so far, with a relentless schedule of fixtures coming at him thick and fast. Nevertheless, the German coach has made it clear that he fully intends his team to lift the trophy.
In His Sights
Another thing on his radar already is next season and who he might bring into the squad during the summer transfer window. Last season was quite expensive for the club; they wrapped up a £200,000,000 spend to pay for seven new arrivals. As a result, their plan was not to take part in the January transfer window, which may have been a little gutting for the new coach as he arrived in plenty of time.
Now, the summer window is looming; he will undoubtedly be trying to convince management the time is right to make some changes and bring in new talent. These are the tactics that he believes will secure Chelsea a much better chance of finishing top of the table next year.
He feels that from the Stamford Bridge line-up he is lacking a striker, and players like Harry Kane, the current Hotspur ace, Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan are all being bandied about. With these players up for more than £1,000,000 each, this will undoubtedly be his most significant spend if he can lure them over to his team. This may not leave much for other areas of his line-up, but he still aims to make more changes and add some strength.
Goalie for Hire
Fans may have noticed that the goalkeeping capabilities could do with a brush-up. As luck would have it, Italian Gianluigi Donnarumma is coming to the end of his contract with AC Milan. He has already made it clear that his future is not with the team, and he will be hoping his performance is enough to get him noticed and it seems Chelsea have already made an approach talking with Milan representatives.
His team have already accepted his decision to leave saying that it is entirely natural for professionals to change their shirt to grow. They have wished him the best, and that just 22 years old, he could certainly be an impressive addition to the Chelsea crew. It seems that he may well be replaced by Mike Maignan, who currently stands between the posts for Lille. However, Tuchel will be all too aware that this is far from being a done deal because there will be fierce competition from other clubs after a free transfer and his signature on their paperwork.
As much as coaches and managers wish that they could throw all the money in the world at creating the perfect team, we know that this is not the case. Without a doubt, this youngster would want to see that he is the first-choice goalkeeper every time and unlikely to want to transfer in to keep the bench warm. Edouard Mendy is undoubtedly not a bad goalie, so he will be slightly disturbed by the news that someone else is being brought in who is considered a stronger player.
His statistics are good, with 31 premier league appearances for the team saving 57 goals and conceding 25, giving him a clean sheet record of 16 games. It would undoubtedly be a puzzle for Chelsea to have two high ranking goalies eager always to be picked first. While the considered newcomer may be a free transfer, his wages would indeed set the Blues back quite a lot and certainly wouldn’t be a wise investment if he were to spend too much time on the bench. However, it is rumoured that this may well be the plan, and a sale could be made in the form of current backup goalie Kepa Arrizabalaga because it’s unlikely there is room for three, and they need the money to fund their ideas.
Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer