Head coach Thomas Tuchel will be looking to guide Chelsea to their first UEFA Champions League crown in nine years when they face Manchester City in the final in Porto tomorrow evening.
The Blues, who have already wrapped up their place in next season’s competition via finishing fourth in the Premier League this season, will be looking to secure their first piece of silverware of the German’s tenure, just two weeks after losing the FA Cup final at Wembley against Leicester City.
Tomorrow night’s highly anticipated all-English showdown will act as Chelsea’s final outing at the end of a long, hard and difficult season, but they have the opportunity to end in style with one of the biggest prizes that football has to offer up for grabs.
But whatever the outcome of the clash with Pep Guardiola’s side, Tuchel will, without doubt, immediately be putting plans in place for next season, and plotting a plan for how he can turn his side into genuine Premier League title contenders, with this season’s effort unable to keep up with pace set by City.
It is already well documented that the German’s top priority is to strengthen his attacking options, with the task of signing a new striker at the very top of his to-do list. Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with moves to Stamford Bridge, as has Romelu Lukaku, who could leave Inter Milan this summer.
If Chelsea do splash out £100million or more on a new source of goals, it is going to leave them potentially chasing shadows in an attempt to bolster other areas of the team. Apart from wanting to sign a new striker, Chelsea are also believed to be keen on landing a new central-defender, with Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid ace Raphael Varane both having been linked with moves to west London.
But if, for instance, Chelsea have spent over £100million on a new striker, there may not be much left in the tank to fund a move for a world-class centre-back, an area of the side that could soon become weak in a year’s time. That is because Thiago Silva is out-of-contract this summer and at the age of 36, whilst Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are all out-of-contract at the end of next season.
Should, for whatever reason, none of those players in question sign new deals this summer, Chelsea could be left in a tricky situation, as the latter three would be allowed to enter negotiations with other clubs if they reached the final six months of their deals with showing signs of penning new deals.
As well as that, they will also require some sort of support and cover next season, especially if Fikayo Tomori joins AC Milan on a permanent basis.
But without needing to step into the transfer market and spend money that may not be there if they land a big-money striker, they could have the ideal candidate to step into the frame in the form of Marc Guehi, who is currently on loan at Championship side Swansea City.
Guehi, who will be looking to help the Swans earn promotion back to the Premier League when they face Brentford in the Championship Play-Off final at Wembley tomorrow afternoon, has been outstanding this season, playing a key role in Steve Cooper’s side’s promotion push.
His performances have forced some Chelsea fans to call for him to be given a chance in the first-team at Stamford Bridge next season. Admittedly, the Premier League and top-level football may be a step up from the Championship, but the 20-year-old may have already done enough to prove his worth and capability of playing at the very top.
That is because he was lavished with praise by former Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard when he was given an appearance for the first-team during a Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester United in 2019. That night, although Chelsea were beaten 2-1, Lampard made a special case for Guehi, alongside fellow youngster Billy Gilmour, by waxing lyrical about the defender’s showing.
“I thought Billy [Gilmour] and Marc Guehi were both really good, Marc was as comfortable as anything,” Lampard told BBC Radio 5 Live after the match.
“I’ve come away from tonight – obviously, we don’t want to lose and we know where this is in the competition – but at the same time, there’s lots of positives.
“In the bigger picture, Marc Guehi’s performance showed that he’s more than comfortable at this level and Billy the same, he was bright.”
With his performances for Swansea this term having spoken for themselves, with the defender averaging a very impressive 1.6 interceptions, 1.7 tackles and 2.7 clearances per game, it highlights just how big a future he could have, especially when Lampard liked what he saw from him as well.
Although it is unlikely he would break straight into the starting line-up upon his return to Stamford Bridge this summer, it should be advised that Tuchel has a close look at him during pre-season.
He is a star in the making and it is vital that Tuchel understands that. Should he give him the chance to impress, learn the ropes at Premier League level and mix with some of the best, it could prove to be a long-term masterstroke.
Source by Football London