Chelsea have been dealt another transfer setback, and there appears to be a pattern emerging.
The Blues have missed out on summer target Mohamed Simakan, who has agreed to join RB Leipzig following this season.
“We’re happy he choose Leipzig, in spite of interest from a number of other clubs,” Leipzig sporting director Markus Krösche confirmed.
“Mohamed is still young at 20 and has plenty of potential to develop, but has already become a key player at Strasbourg.”
Chelsea were understood to be one of those interested clubs, and it’s yet another blow to their plans for the summer transfer window.
The Blues were also said to be hot on Bayern Munich star David Alaba, who is set to become a free agent this summer, with the versatile defender looking for a new challenge at the age of 28.
Chelsea were keen and Thomas Tuchel is said to have expressed his interest, but reports this week suggested Alaba has turned down the proposal, also rejecting other clubs as he seeks a move to La Liga.
With Barcelona and Real Madrid interested, Alaba is said to be fixed on a move to Spain, and that may not be the end of Chelsea’s summer disappointments.
Prime target Erling Haaland is reportedly not keen on a move to Stamford Bridge, only interested in joining an ‘absolutely top club’, though his latest hint has suggested he may yet stay put.
He said this week: “I still have three years of contract. I am not upset about that.
“The media are the ones who write about it, I don’t focus on those things. I want to improve every day.”
Either way, that could make it three transfer blows for the Blues, and we are still months away from the summer window.
So, what is going wrong? Do Chelsea lack the pulling power of previous years? Three years without a Premier League title might have impacted that, albeit one of those seasons was in the midst of a transfer ban.
But it could also be for the opposite reason Chelsea are missing out on transfer targets.
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Granted, Haaland would walk into almost any team in the world, but other players, particularly younger and less experienced players, like Simakan, are faced with a daunting prospect when looking at the Chelsea squad.
Tuchel has a plethora of talent at his disposal, two and even three players in every position and one of the strongest benches in the league after Chelsea’s investment last summer, which totalled more than £200million.
But while possessing such a strong squad will help Chelsea in the short-term as they look to secure a top-four finish and potentially a Champions League title, they might have to accept that, barring truly elite players, they aren’t an attractive prospect for players who want guaranteed game time.
Tuchel has been excellent at rotating his squad and still getting results, but he can’t offer guarantees given the quality of his players, and that’s something Marina Granovskaia is going to have to work around as she and the Chelsea recruitment staff set about strengthening this summer.