Options Chelsea should look at to save spending £80m on Declan Rice and invest in Jules Kounde


Chelsea could do with a midfielder if Saúl Ñíguez continues to disappoint. The club have an array of players for the role but N’Golo Kante keeps missing games due to injury and Jorginho turns 30 in December.

The main target seems to be Declan Rice from West Ham but he is priced at around £80 million, so the Blues might have to look at other cheaper options.

In a post-Covid world where finances will still be tight and the club already spending a lot of money in the past two summer windows. The club might see it as a chance to save money on free agents to afford players in defence if key players do leave.

I know Thomas Tuchel has been playing a 3-4-3 formation so far in his Chelsea career but it’s not a typical shape he is known for playing most of his managerial career. In the near future, I expect he will opt back to a back four.

As of right now, the club still lacks a player to suit the formation of shielding the defence with a back four.

For all the good they do, I still don’t believe Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic are suited for such a role of breaking up play and being solid but also sticking to a set defensive role and not getting caught out of position shielding a back four.

In my opinion, I still feel the club could do with a solid defensive midfielder and move away from the two double pivots tactics we currently play.

Taking a blueprint of how Paris Saint-Germain performed in the last transfer window. They saved a lot of money on transfer fees but still came away from it with excellent players added to their squads. This could be the new way teams try and operate, and how players get the power in their decisions again in joining clubs they want, instead of just agreeing on new contracts at said clubs and then not being allowed to leave.

I have a few good options that the club have been linked with in the past. All three of these players have expiring contracts and therefore either Chelsea could pick them up on a free transfer next summer, or better yet, secure their services for a cut-price fee in January to help the team as soon as possible if an injury does knock the side back.

(This is obvious if they do not secure new contracts with their current clubs)

So let’s go through the three players Thomas Tuchel could consider, starting with:

Marcelo Brozovic



Marcelo Brozovic of FC Internazionale controls the ball during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo and FC Internazionale at Mapei Stadium - Citta' del Tricolore on October 1, 2021 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Marcelo Brozovic of FC Internazionale likes to control the ball like Jorginho

The first name I’d like to mention is Brozovic. The rumours of our interest in him have started to heat up again after a few links over the years. He won the Serie A title last season and has been a key part of the Inter Milan midfield since he joined in 2015.

He played in an Antonio Conte team last season that played a 3-5-2 formation at times and is very comfortable playing with a three at the back.

Brozovic game is more around controlling the game from deep and distributing the ball out to the rest of his teammates to start the new wave of attack.

He would come in as a Jorginho type replacement to control the ball easier when the team is in possession and alleviate the effects of the opposition’s pressing football.

Last season he had a pass accuracy of 90% in the Serie A and also completed 4.8 long balls per game, showing how he can be adventurous with his passing.

He would be the perfect deep-lying playmaker to partner with a midfield destroyer like N’Golo Kante in a double pivot.

Franck Kessie



MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 28: (BILD OUT) Franck Kessie of AC Milan controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between AC Milan and Atletico Madrid at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on September 28, 2021 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Franck Kessie of AC Milan is a typical destroyer and loves to get involved in the dirty work

Franck Kessie is the second name that could solve issues in midfield. Fans will again remember him being previously linked to us in the past. He has made himself an important part of AC Milan’s midfield, which saw AC Milan come second in the league behind their rivals Inter Milan last season.

Kessie is a different type of midfielder than Brozovic, as he is a very combative midfielder who is strong in the tackle and uses his high level of physicality to bully opponents off the ball. His high work rate allows him to affect the game across the pitch.

If we are lucky ex Chelsea players Fikayo Tomori, Olivier Giroud will give him a rundown on the good things at Chelsea.

As well as this, you shouldn’t disregard his on-the-ball skill. Kessie was successful with 80% of his dribbles in the 2020/21 season showing how he can effectively beat the oppositions pressing.

He also had a pass accuracy of 84% in the opposition’s half of the field, showing how despite being a more defensive midfielder he could affect the game going forward as well.

And just to put the icing on the cake, Kessie is a great penalty taker. He scored 11 penalties with a conversion rate of 85% in the 2020/22 season. Now I know Jorginho and Romelu Lukaku and others are good at them also but if going into a penalty shootout then he would come in handy.

Denis Zakaria



MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 25: Denis Zakaria of Borussia Moenchengladbach is interviewed after the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund at Borussia-Park on September 25, 2021 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)
Denis Zakaria of Borussia Moenchengladbach is a player with a huge move ahead of him very soon

And speaking of midfield destroyers, Denis Zakaria is also out of contract next summer and some of the top names in Europe are vying for his signature, and Chelsea should be too.

The Swiss defensive midfielder came to the fore under Marco Rose and despite the manager’s departure, he is a vital part of the Borussia Monchengladbach midfield. So far this season, the 24-year-old has been deployed both as part of a two-man and three-man midfield.

With what I said about trying a solo number six in the future to play alongside Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante, he would suit this role perfectly. He has registered 2.2 combined tackles and interceptions per 90 this season, however, Monchengladbach have mainly played teams where they have most of the possession.

He’s chipped in with two goals and an assist in the first five league games of the season.

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Overall there is no guarantee that Chelsea go in for any of these players, but if they don’t go in for them it is likely that other teams in the Premier League will and miss out on three cut-price options who will bring something needed in midfield.

Although I would like to add I’d rather the club spend big on a Declan Rice or Aurélien Tchouaméni type of player, I just know the club can’t keep spending £50m plus on players and need to sometimes find cheaper options.

These three options shouldn’t just be ignored if the opportunity arises. The money could then be used to spend on a new defender they earmarked for in the last window.

Which midfielder would you like Chelsea to sign? Follow our CareFree Chelsea editor Scott Clayton on Twitter to get involved in the discussion in the comment section below. If you enjoyed reading this then give my other articles a read below.





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