Chelsea Summer Window
Three months ago I outlined what the ideal 2021 summer window would like for Chelsea. Now I re-evaluate what the Blues did or didn’t do. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

The Ideal Chelsea 2021 Summer Window: Re-Evaluated

Chelsea are coming off the heels of a rather successful 2020-21 campaign. A Champions League victory against English rival Manchester City, an FA Cup final birth, and a top four finish in the Premier League due in large part to a revitalized squad led by Thomas Tuchel. Still, there were holes that needed to be filled in the starting XI and I outlined three areas where I felt Chelsea needed to improve this summer window back in May. Let’s see how I did:

Step 1: Finding a Striker

I nailed this one. Obviously, anyone with a pair of eyeballs could see that Chelsea needed a clinical and true No. 9 to back the array of attacking talent at the club. I’ll highlight what I said three months ago below:

“For a side that lacks creativity and clinical finishing in the final third, the man most suited to fill the void in the #9 hole at Chelsea has already worn the badge: Inter Milan and Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.”

“Lukaku, 28, is in his prime. He’s tallied 29 goals and 10 assists in all competitions. He is strong on the ball, clinical in the box, good aerially, and can hold up defenders when necessary. He brings leadership and a composure to a side that lacks it up front. Certainly, the likes of Erling Haaland or Harry Kane would be appreciated, but A) I don’t think Haaland is attracted to Chelsea, and B) Kane is too loyal to Tottenham to join a different London club. Ultimately, Chelsea needs to get Lukaku back and his addition is the most important in the 2021 summer window.”

On Aug. 12, Roman Abramovich brought Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge. The Belgian striker continued his stellar form into the summer scoring four goals during his country’s Euro 2020(1) campaign. While the Chelsea striker transfer saga was certainly rocky, especially after rumors concerning a possible London move from Haaland were brewing, I believe the Blues got the right guy in Lukaku. And on top of it all he seems happy to be back in London.

“I’m happy and blessed to be back at this wonderful club. It’s been a long journey for me: I came here as a kid who had a lot to learn, now I’m coming back with a lot of experience and more mature. The relationship I have with this club means so much to me, as you know. I have supported Chelsea as a kid and now to be back and try to help them win more titles is an amazing feeling.”

VIA Chelsea FC

Step 2: Signing Declan Rice

This move, sadly, did not come to fruition – at least not yet. I still feel that Rice is destined to wear the Chelsea crest again – he is a Cobham product – but it appears it will not be happening this year. Tuchel is still blessed with midfield talent in N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, so there is no apparent need to drop the £100 million price tag on the 22-year-old. The West Ham midfielder has reportedly voiced his displeasure at the price tag that is hindering him from a move to Chelsea or Manchester United. The need for Rice is more apparent at the latter club, but Kante and Jorginho are aging, so the 22-year-old’s possible addition at Stamford Bridge would be an important move for the future of the club.

Step 3: Figuring Out What to Do with the Youngsters

Tuchel and company have somewhat sorted out this mess. Let’s start with the player I originally evaluted first: Tammy Abraham. The 23-year-old striker was moved to AS Roma this August to make room for Romelu Lukaku. While Abraham was not included in a cash-and-swap deal with West Ham like I predicted, his €40 million fee means that Chelsea will more than likely have a positive transfer flow this summer.

The next youngster I mentioned was Callum Hudson-Odoi. The 20-year-old is with the club and his presence is always welcomed. He very well could be one of the top three young stars on tap at Chelsea, but his playing time is still minimal. He is versatile enough to play at wing-back or forward, still, Tuchel has yet to fully integrate him into either roll. I’d like to see him get more minutes, but the talent pool at Chelsea right now is so deep, it may prove difficult.

And now to the final component of this third step: bringing back a Chelsea center-back who was on loan. I originally said Marc Guéhi in my post back in May, and to be fair, Chelsea did bring the 21-year-old back for training camp. Except, they sold him to Crystal Palace for £18 million. Nevertheless, Guéhi’s departure at the club made room for Trevoh Chalobah – who was on loan at Ligue 1 side Lorient last season – in the 23-man roster and the latter has starred. Chalobah started in both the UEFA Super Cup and the Premier League opening day win against Crystal Palace where he did this:

All in all, I think I did a fair job in predicting what the Chelsea summer window should have looked like. Clearly Mr. Abramovich heeded my advice and signed Lukaku. It’s another season of Champions League football for the Blues and I’m excited to see what Lukaku, Tuchel, Mason Mount and the rest of the squad can accomplish this season.

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