Chelsea are targeting a host of new signings this summer as manager Frank Lampard plots a Premier League title challenge. The Blues have already secured deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner ahead of the 2020/21 campaign and a number of other arrivals are expected.
There will also be a raft of departures as Chelsea look to raise funds and free up space on their wage bill, meaning the starting XI could look very different next term.
Lampard has been forced to utilise youth academy graduates this season after Chelsea were banned from registering new players last summer.
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The likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham have repaid that faith with impressive breakthrough campaigns, but the new generation of talent at Stamford Bridge will have their hands full retaining their starting berths.
Chelsea have adopted an aggressive transfer strategy this summer, taking advantage of their sound financial footing to bolster their squad while other clubs are potentially feeling the squeeze following the coronavirus crisis.
Ben Chilwell is top of the wishlist but Leicester could demand as much as £80m for Chilwell – the same fee Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire last summer.
Alex Telles, Nicolas Tagliafico and Robin Gosens are all more affordable options while Declan Rice has been identified as a long-term solution to Chelsea’s problems at centre-back.
However, West Ham are reluctant to sell the 21-year-old so it would take a bid of more than £50m to secure the England international.
Finally, Lampard has a big decision to make over his goalkeeper with Kepa Arrizabalaga having failed to impress this season.
The 25-year-old is still highly regarded in Spain but Chelsea will be lucky to recoup the majority of the £71m they paid Athletic Bilbao back in 2018, which could restrict who they can afford as a replacement.
Jan Oblak is the desired choice by Atletico Madrid want £110m for the Slovenian so Andre Onana, Nick Pope, Dean Henderson and Alphonse Areola are all cheaper alternatives.
If Chelsea are successful in signing all their targets this summer, Lampard will have his hands full fitting his stars into a balanced line-up.
Werner would likely lead the line after a prolific season in Germany so Tammy Abraham will have to drop to the bench and Olivier Giroud’s game time would be drastically limited.
Michy Batshuayi is expected to depart if a buyer can be found and out-of-contract duo Willian and Pedro are also destined to leave but Christian Pulisic has been in scintillating form and looks to have nailed down a starting berth on the left wing while Ziyech can operate on the opposite flank.
Havertz has the ability to play in the No 10 role and would be ahead of versatile midfielders Mount, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the pecking order so the trio will join Callum Hudson-Odoi on the bench.
N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic are first-choice midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 line up so Billy Gilmour will have his work cut out to make an impression once back from injury while Jorginho could return to Serie A if the right bid is lodged.
Finally, Cesar Azpilicueta will compete with James at right-back, Kurt Zouma’s recent performances have moved him ahead of Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Tomori in Lampard’s esteem and Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater, Davide Zappacosta and Victor Moses could all be offloaded.
Chelsea predicted line-up in 2020/21
(4-2-3-1): Areola; Azpilicueta, Rice, Zouma, Chilwell; Kante, Kovacic; Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic; Werner
SUBS: Caballero, James, Rudiger, Gilmour, Mount, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Giroud
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