Timo Werner (11) of Chelsea (Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
While Chelsea’s preseason schedule is now complete after dual friendlies versus Udinese in Italy, Thomas Tuchel has one week to drill and organise his team before the Premier League campaign gets underway against Everton. In the meantime, the German will reflect on his arrangements of starting sides and formations over that period to construct an XI for the Toffees clash. Tuchel is unlikely to dramatically switch from his trusted three-centreback setup for a four at the back system, especially following the Arsenal drubbing. Three CBs were used in both practice matches in Udine.
First of all, on Friday evening, a stronger Blues team defeated the White and Blacks 3-1. Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling – with a maiden finish in a CFC strip – and N’golo Kante supplied the goals on the night. The select Chels’ XI which beat Udinese on the very next day was definitely weaker. Aside from Ben Chilwell and possibly Christian Pulisic, the other nine players will mostly be on the Chelsea substitute’s bench for the first contest of the upcoming season. Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be given further chances to impress during competitive action, and Mateo Kovacic is on the precipice of the beginning side. Yet I suspect Kante and Jorginho to be in the middle. Loftus-Cheek and Hakim Ziyech did the damage at the weekend.
There is still some so-called deadwood for the West London club to rid themselves of in this transfer window. Apparently Billy Gilmour, Ethan Ampadu and Kenedy were not offered squad numbers for 2022/23, leading to obvious speculation that the trio are undesirables at Stamford Bridge.
Starting our transfer ‘news’ roundup with Barkley, the former Evertonian rejoining his onetime club is not on the agenda. According to The Athletic, the 28-year-old going back to Goodison Park is unlikely. This is because the Merseyside outfit ‘are not interested in pursuing the midfielder’.
In that case, if you ask me, CFC should step up their quest to sell Barkley by lowering his price. The player certainly needs to accept a pay cut to continue playing regularly at this level. The talent is there, though he is more suited to a mid-placed top-flight team.
Meanwhile the exit of Armando Broja feels less likely by the day: Tuchel clearly fancies giving the Albanian a go, the Blues are reportedly rejecting offers from like West Ham United to Real Madrid and the start of the next term is almost upon us. Nizaar Kinsella suggests that Broja is to be a part of the Blues rotation this year. After an energetic and enthusiastic run out versus a Udinese XI, I for one would like to see more of Broja in a Chels shirt. Though a transfer away for the striker cannot be ruled out entirely.
Putting to one side most people’s astonishment that Batshuayi is still a Chelsea player, it appears he may not be one for long. Graeme Bailey claims that EFC are currently in talks to sign the centreforward; negotiations concern a permanent switch for the Belgium international.
Werner’s body language in the Gunners game was worrying, to say the least. Shipping him out with a loan to buy option is my recommendation to the club. There is now an expectation that the Germany forward shall take a pay cut to secure a move away from Fulham Road. He wants an RB Leipzig return; whilst Juventus monitor, along with Newcastle United.