With Chelsea linked with plenty of new players, Vincent Ralph predicts what their starting line-up could look like next season.
Chelsea have been linked with a whole host of players this summer, and while none are yet to arrive, you sense it is only a matter of time before they spend big and – if the reports are to be believed – spend extremely well.
Jose Mourinho’s side have been tipped to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa for a while now, and his arrival would see the Blues finally possess the world-class striker they have been crying out for.
But recent reports from Spain suggest it will not only be Costa who arrives from Atletico, but potentially three of his teammates in the form of Tiago, Diego Godin and Filipe Luis. And don’t forget those somewhat surprising links with Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas?
So based on those reports and the players currently at Mourinho’s disposal, who could be turning out in Chelsea’s first XI next season?
The Belgian goalkeeper is being linked with a return to Chelsea after three years on loan at Atletico Madrid. While that decision would leave Courtois fighting with Petr Cech for the gloves he is such a talent that it is surely time to make him the undisputed number one at Stamford Bridge.
The Spanish international spent the vast majority of last season playing at left-back, but with a potential new arrival detailed below, Mourinho may opt to put him back into his favoured position ahead of Branislav Ivanovic.
Chelsea’s captain fantastic showed last season that he still has plenty of gas in the engine and I expect him to be first-choice again in the new campaign. Next year could be his last as a first-team regular given the emergence of the likes of Tomas Kalas and Kurt Zouma, so expect him to go out with a bang.
Godin has been tipped to be part of a £100million influx from Atletico Madrid and he would be an outstanding signing. I have put him in the side ahead of Gary Cahill because he has been simply superb in La Liga and would make Chelsea’s back-line even stronger.
Ashley Cole may be gone but rumours persist that Chelsea will replace him with the superb Atletico left-back. The 28-year-old left-back would be one of the most impressive pieces of business Mourinho has ever pulled off as the Blues boss.
Willian showed last season just how good he is and he will hope to follow what could be a victorious World Cup campaign with another sterling one at Chelsea. His work-rate is such that he simply cannot be ignored and he is also a regular creator of both chances and goals.
It may have taken a while – and cost Chelsea more than was necessary – but Matic is now a regular and vital part of the Blues’ midfield. He showed in the second half of last season just how good he can be, and with a full pre-season in London behind him I expect him to be even better next year.
The Barcelona man has been linked with a move to Chelsea in recent days and while Mourinho is flush with midfield talent he would still be a fantastic addition. He will not come cheap but it does appear his time in Spain is coming to an end, so what chance a return to London?
Forget the rumours linking Hazard with a big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain. Mourinho would be crazy to let him go and the Belgian play-maker has already intimated he will remain at the club next season. If he continues where he left off in the previous campaign, he would add the Player of the Year trophy to last season’s Young Player award.
Mourinho put a lot of faith in the young Brazilian at the start of his second spell in charge, allowing Juan Mata to leave after making Oscar his number 10. While injuries and fatigue took their toll in the second half of the campaign, I expect him to have a great campaign supplying the likely new arrival up front.
Chelsea need a new striker. There is absolutely no doubt about that. And it appears – if reports are to be believed – that man will be Spanish international Costa. An agreement is reportedly in place and a medical is said to have been completed, so it would come as a big surprise if the Atletico front-man is not wearing the blue of Chelsea next season.