Uncertainty currently rules at Chelsea. And it will do for some time. Even the sale of the club by Roman Abramovich will not lead to any guarantees. Questions will need to be answered by the new owners. Actions will need to be taken to back-up statements made in the bidding process. Only time will reveal all.
The hope among supporters is that on the football side of things, there is little change. Thomas Tuchel must remain in charge and be given the support he requires to ensure Chelsea remain a Premier League and European heavyweight. Competing for the Champions League must not become a thing of the past for the Blues.
To that end, the summer transfer window remains an important one for the Blues. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the series of events that led to Abramovich deciding to sell – and being sanctioned by both the UK government and EU – big-money additions were mooted and high-profile departures speculated upon.
Nothing had progressed dramatically at the club in terms of the summer; Tuchel himself admitted at the start of the month there was still too much football to play. “There have been no talks for the summer. It is simply too early,” the Chelsea head coach said. “We’re in a good place at the moment. I feel the team growing and getting better and better. So no worries on this case until the summer. There is a long way to go.”
Off-field matters have taken priority for both Chelsea and Tuchel over the past month. Yet there will come a time, almost certainly when a new owner or ownership group is in situ – that those at the club can begin to focus on the transfer window once more. And there are big decisions that have to be made over several members of the first-team squad (not including those out of contract this summer).
The Italian will have just one year remaining on his Chelsea contract this summer and his agent, Joao Santos, continues to suggest Jorginho is keen on a move back to Serie A. “Playing in Serie A is a dream for him and his heart remains here [in Italy], Santos told TuttoMercatoWeb yesterday (Wednesday).
“As things stand today, he could play for four or five clubs: Milan, Inter, Juve, Roma, or Napoli. There are many clubs interested in him. In the past, I spoke with PSG, Barcelona and also Milan’s Ricky Massara. I don’t know if the Rossoneri are still interested, though. The fact remains, we can’t do anything now because Chelsea aren’t allowed to sell, buy or renew contracts. Jorginho has a contract until June 2023, after the World Cup we’ll see about working on a renewal.”
Jorginho has made 38 appearances for Chelsea this term, an indication of the status he holds under Tuchel. Yet the 30-year-old’s game time has been limited thus far in 2022 in an attempt to ensure he is fresh for the season run-in alongside N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
The next contract Jorginho signs is likely to be the last big one of his career, however. So Chelsea and their new owners will have to decide if they are willing to commit to a deal that keeps the Italy international at the club into his mid-thirties or whether it is the right time to cash in on the reigning UEFA Player of the Year.
The Frenchman is in a similar position to Jorginho. Now 30 years old, the Frenchman remains one of the world’s finest midfielders and is a key figure in the side, although his performances in recent months haven’t been quite at his usual high level. But come the end of the campaign, he will have just 12 months remaining on his contract.
Due to injuries and having twice tested positive for Covid, Kante hasn’t been an ever-present figure this term. He has made 22 starts in all competitions and 31 appearances in total. Yet when at his best, as he was in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie against Lille, he can decide the destiny of a match.
And in Tuchel, he has a coach who hugely appreciates not only his ability but also his attitude off the pitch. “Of course he makes the difference because he’s a very very special player,” the German said last month. “I’ve said it 100 times, and can repeat it another 100 times: there are no more words. He has outstanding qualities that helps every team in the world.”
When he was brought to Chelsea in a deal worth £49.5million from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2020, Werner was expected to be the man who fired the Blues into Premier League title contention. That hasn’t happened and in 80 appearances the German has found the net on just 19 occasions.
Many defended Werner last season, highlighted his work rate off the ball and pressing ability. Tuchel kept faith with the 26-year-old too – it shouldn’t be forgotten that the German international started the Champions League final victory over Manchester City in Porto last May.
This season, however, Tuchel’s faith has wavered. Werner has started just 15 games across all competitions and on only eight occasions in the Premier League, a competition in which he has scored just once this term. It’s little surprise that the forward is reportedly considering showdown talks with the Chelsea head coach.
You sense there will be a market for Werner in the summer transfer window. He is a player who netted 95 goals in 159 games for Leipzig; he has certainly proved himself a capable goalscorer in the Bundesliga. There may be interest from Borussia Dortmund – who could lose Erling Haaland – and if that were to materialise, it may make sense for all involved to find a solution.