Two things have happened this summer for Chelsea. They’ve made a big splash in the transfer market and one youth product has shown why they might not need to.
The Blues have never been afraid to spend money when they’ve needed to and in signing Romelu Lukaku they fixed what was lacking in Thomas Tuchel’s team last season.
Chelsea might have a problem brewing in the centre-half position. Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger all have contracts that are dwindling down, and Kurt Zouma has joined West Ham. So, how do they solve it?
Marina Granovskaia has often stepped up to the challenge in these situations and while contracts aren’t out of the question for a number of those players, rumours of a deal for Jules Kounde have continued.
A £68million release clause is rumoured for the impressive 22-year-old but Chelsea have one of their own. Developed through the academy and having completed the loan training school that Blues youngsters so often go through, Trevoh Chalobah has stepped up this summer when Tuchel needed him.
The most convincing defender against Villarreal on the way to winning the UEFA Super League, Chalobah backed that up with another solid outing and a goal on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace. Not bad, but are two games enough to convince Tuchel that he is the answer for not just the future but now?
Does Chalobah deserve his chance? Is Kounde just that good? Could the Blues make use of both, or can you have too much of a good thing?
Our writers weigh up the pros and cons to give their verdict.
Sam Inkersole – Chief Chelsea writer
Jules Kounde of Sevilla is a name that won’t go away and Monchi, Sevilla’s sporting director, has been busy spending money this summer as well to bolster the Spanish side’s squad.
With the emergence of Trevoh Chalobah over pre-season and scoring a fantastic third goal for his side against Palace, there’s a bigger decision to be made than Tuchel might have originally thought with the academy graduate. It would certainly be tough to part ways with him.
Chelsea need to move on a centre back if they are to complete a deal for Kounde. That happened with Kurt Zouma moving across the capital and joining West Ham.
Chalobah is making himself hard to ignore for Tuchel. Thiago Silva returned in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool after his summer exertions with Brazil. So the Blues should be happy with their lot as things stand. Should they make some moves however then Kounde could come quickly back into focus.
Adam Newson – Chelsea Writer
There’s no doubt Jules Kounde has the potential to be one of the finest centre-backs in European football, even if his height would be a problem to overcome in the Premier League. Yet for now, I think the Blues should park their interest.
What Trevoh Chalobah has achieved can’t be brushed aside. He’s jumped through the club’s hoops out on loan, has come back and proven himself to Thomas Tuchel in pre-season, and has made a huge impact in the first team against Villarreal and Crystal Palace.
Quite simply, he couldn’t have done anything more to make it at Chelsea. And that should be recognised by Tuchel and the club.
Of course, centre-back is a position Chelsea need to address longer-term. As things stand, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are all out of contract in 2022 while Kurt Zouma has been sold to West Ham.
Refreshment in that area of the pitch will be needed. Kounde can help make that happen, but next summer. Personally, I think Chelsea should move for the France international in the winter transfer window with the view that he arrives in the summer.
The Blues will have a far better idea how their centre-back department looks at that point and can adjust accordingly if Rudiger or Christensen haven’t extended their respective contracts.
Scott Trotter – Chelsea Writer
Trevoh Chalobah has done enough to stick around at Stamford Bridge this season. While his sample size of games for the Blues is small, and form could yet drop, he has proved he has enough quality to fight for a place among Thomas Tuchel’s centre back selection.
However, whether that should stop Chelsea chasing a deal for Jules Kounde is another question altogether. There is a clear issue in terms of the number of defenders whose contracts are expiring and while negotiations are underway it certainly puts the Blues under some pressure.
Having six central defenders is a nice number of options to deal with rotation necessary to compete on all fronts but would a seventh be so bad? Signing Kounde would not only add another very talented player to an already exceptional squad but would also give the Blues greater leverage in their negotiations with the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
Having a season to bed into the squad, before really needing to step up to the plate in 2022/23 may even be a nice transition rather than a complete overhaul next summer.
Whether extensions are granted in the near future, Kurt Zouma’s transfer away truly dictates how much of a priority Kounde is. But with the books fairly balanced at the moment despite the outlay on Romelu Lukaku, maybe it’s not too much to ask for one more big deal.
Daniel Childs – Chelsea fan brands writer
Signing a new central defender this summer has always felt like a lower priority personally, but there is some logic behind bringing in Jules Kounde.
He is quite clearly a brilliant young defender the club have admired for a couple of years, and it is hard to avoid the reality of Thiago Silva’s age, the precarious contract situations of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Also, Kurt Zouma’s departure has left a space for Kounde to join.
However, Chalobah’s emergence should give the club enough time to rethink splashing so much money on a new defender. Chalobah could follow a similar path to Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham and find consistent minutes in the first team picture under Tuchel. After a summer exodus on young promising talent, Chalobah would slightly soothe the wounds of disappointed supporters on top of being a player with a lot of first team minutes out on loan.
A fee in excess of £60million for a player who might not instantly step into a settled defence, feels more like a luxury than a transformative addition.
That fee could be better spent to bolster the central midfield area
Renuka Odedra – Fan Brans Trends Writer
“Chelsea have a great opportunity to utilise a youth talent like Trevoh Chalobah. If Chelsea do end up buying Kounde and Chalobah as a result, ends up losing minutes on the pitch it would be a step in the wrong direction. In the same season that they sold Tammy Abraham, it would seem like a real waste of talent to sit on the bench – once again.
Sure enough, the argument would be that Chalobah doesn’t have the games under his belt and experience on the pitch to be a consistent first-team starter. He’ll do some amazing things, like during the first game this season – scoring a wonderful goal. He’ll also make mistakes. But, isn’t that the whole point of having a youth system and placing your faith in a player that the club system has nurtured?
Then again with Tuchel increasingly rotating players in and out, moving away from a fixed starting 11, in some areas of the pitch Chalobah could still do well with Kounde in the side. But, for me, I would say stick with Chalobah. He isn’t going to be the perfect piece in the puzzle to start with – but, he shouldn’t be expected to be either. We know what he’s capable of. I hope the club allows him to lead with that and allow him the time to shine.”
Jai Mcintosh – Fan Brands Producer
The emergence of Trevoh Chalobah throughout Chelsea’s pre-season has enlightened fans who felt somewhat disappointed following this summer’s youth exodus. Few would argue against the claim that Chalobah has been Chelsea’s best player so far this season and his outstanding display in the Super Cup only reinforced that claim.
However, there is an issue covertly bubbling under the surface; the majority of Chelsea’s defenders have one or two years left on their contracts. Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta all have contracts that expire at the end of the season, while Marcos Alonso’s contract expires in 2023.
Therefore, it would seem an intelligent decision to sign Jules Kounde this summer and keep Chalobah to see how he operates across the course of a season. Fairly argued by some is that Chelsea need a midfielder and purchasing Kounde would hinder that, which makes complete sense. If Chelsea have the choice of a centre-back or midfielder I would argue a midfielder is the pressing issue within the side and the money for Kounde could be used to secure the signing one of the club’s midfield targets.
Depending on which players extend contracts, a new centre-back can be recruited next summer. This would allow Chalobah to develop his role in the Chelsea first team and would free up funds for a new midfielder who can cover for the outstanding N’Golo Kante.
Source by Football London