Football News

Thomas Tuchel: Chelsea need a new generation to take over with two “issues” in current squad

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:04, 8 August 2022

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has hinted that the club may look to younger players in the transfer window as he tries to build a new generation of players in the squad.

The Blues beat Everton 1-0 in their Premier League opener, keeping at clean sheet to end their Goodison Park hoodoo, but a lot of the focus when the starting XI was released was average age of Chelsea’s back three. Together, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kalidou Koulibaly had a combined age of 101 and that will increase to 103 by September.

As things stand that will be Chelsea’s first-choice back three, with Azpilicueta recently signing a new two-year deal amid links of a departure to Barcelona, while Koulibaly is one of the new arrivals at Chelsea. Signed from Napoli for £33.8m, Koulibaly was a key addition for Chelsea this summer, helping to replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen who left for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

Koulibaly made his official debut against Everton and thrived, winning three aerial duels, making two tackles and one last-man tackle as well as one interception. The Senegalese centre-back is a fine signing and Chelsea fans will be hoping he follows in the footsteps of Silva, who continues to perform at the highest level despite being just over a month away from 38.

However, Tuchel is wary. While the Azpilicueta, Koulibaly and Silva are still top class, Chelsea do need to start looking to the future to ensure they have players to step in when the trio either retire or have to play reduced minutes due to age – already Silva cannot be expected to play every game and was often rested in midweek matches when possible last season.


Sky Bet welcome offer: How to get £20 in free bets

It's a good time to sign up to Sky Bet. Qualifying readers* will get £20 in free bets when staking just £5. You can follow THIS LINK to claim or click the image below. 

*New customers only. First single & E/W bet only. £5 minimum stake. 4x £5 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Minimum odds of qualifying bet 1/1 or greater. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are not withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further Ts&Cs apply. 18+ only. begambleaware.org


And Chelsea’s age problem is not limited to the centre-backs, though that is the first place a lot of minds went, especially with the club linked with a move for Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana.

“Azpi is the legend that he is, Thiago is in the moment still very important to us and when we had the chance to sign Kalidou we did it because we believe that he has some years ahead of him,” Tuchel told reporters after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Everton.

“But in general it is the fact that like the goalkeeper and the double sixes are in their thirties, and that is just what it is. Pace is an issue and speed is an issue. In all signings, this is the demand of the game that you can play one on ones, that you can defend space if needed with high-speed runs.

“It is a lot of experience, it is maybe another of age – it is a lot of experience and they have their quality and they know what they are doing. We also need to make sure we have a new generation to take over in the next years but the guys are strong that is why they are under contract and the guys have our trust.

“There needs to be [balance]. I think it is necessary. The game in general is very physical and demands a lot. This is the situation. We knew it before.”

The new generation Chelsea could look to build their squad around

Goalkeeper

Wuilker Farinez

Chelsea have already signed Gabriel Slonina, an 18-year-old American goalkeeper from Chicago Fire, loaning him back to the MLS club for the remainder of their season. But they perhaps need someone in between 30-year-old Edouard Mendy and Slonina, particularly if Kepa Arrizabalaga is allowed to leave. One goalkeeper to have caught our eye is Wuilker Farinez, who has been quietly impressing at Lens behind a much worse defence than the one currently at Chelsea.

Centre-back

Wesley Fofana

Of course, the name currently being heavily linked with Chelsea is Wesley Fofana, and the Blues seem intent on making him their next defensive signing. Fofana is a defender’s defender, focusing more on preventing goals than creating them and his implementation would free up his centre-back partners to get involved more going forward. Although he is still a good passer.


888sport betting offer: How to get £30 in free bets (+£10 casino bonus)

Eligible readers interested in the 888sport betting offer can follow THIS LINK or click the image below and sign up using the code 30FB.

Min deposit £/€/$10 • Promo code: 30FB • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £/€/$10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager the bonus amount 40 times within 14 days • Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & full T&Cs apply. 18+ only. Please play responsibly. For more information, visit Be Gamble Aware.


Olivier Boscagli

The job that still remains for Chelsea is to find a replacement for Rudiger in terms of playing style, with the German international being Tuchel’s point-of-call for bringing the ball out from the back. When there wasn’t a pass on, Rudiger used to drive up the pitch, deceptively quick with his long strides before finding his man with an excellent pass. Olivier Boscagli of PSV has a similar profile to Rudiger and in the Eredivisie last season averaged 0.65 take-ons attempted per 90 minutes and 16.23 final third passes to go with his 2.63 interceptions and 5.35 possessions won in the defensive third.

Trevoh Chalobah

Or, bold shout here, Chelsea could look to their academy and current squad to find the next generation. The Blues are blessed with a host of talented youngsters including Levi Colwill, who has been sent on loan to Brighton for the season, but one who is ready-made for the Premier League is Trevoh Chalobah who became a regular under Tuchel last season. Why not give him more of a role?

Double sixes

Frenkie de Jong

If Chelsea make two more signings this summer it’s expected to be Fofana and Frenkie de Jong, with the Blues favourites to lure the Dutch midfielder from Barcelona. This season it’s hard to see where he would fit into the Chelsea team, based on the personnel currently in place, but he could revolutionise the way Tuchel sets up his midfield.

Jean Onana

Chelsea have needed to sort out a successor to N’Golo Kante for some time, with the Frenchman’s powers waning due to injuries and age – though he is still capable of performing at a top level. One player who has caught our eye as a potential replacement is Jean Onana, who is still at Bordeaux following their relegation from Ligue 1 last season. The 22-year-old was defensively solid for Bordeaux last season despite their problems, averaging 3.41 tackles per 90 minutes and 1.76 interceptions as well as 1.12 take-ons attempted and 12.78 final third passes.

Conor Gallagher

Another bold shout is to use the youth and actually give Conor Gallagher a starting spot. The Englishman thrived in the midfield at Crystal Palace last season but appears set to stay at Stamford Bridge, so why not utilise the momentum he built and his abilities now so he’s ready to replace Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.

READ MORE:

✕︎

Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from squawka.com. For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..

x

Newsletter error