Monday, September 28, 2020

Can Chelsea Challenge In 2020-21?

Chelsea have had quite the summer. The Blues have made six high profile signings and have spent over £200 million on new additions as they try to compete and catch up with Liverpool and Manchester City.

The West London side won the Premier League in the 2016-17 season but have never been close to winning it again since.

Manchester City and Liverpool have gone on to become the two powerhouses of the Premier League. However, with the lack of transfer activity from both sides, can Chelsea go on and close the gap and even challenge for the Premier League?

The headline signing has been the most recent one. Midfielder Kai Havertz has come in from Bayern Leverkusen for a fee of £75.8 million and his German counterpart Timo Werner also comes in with plenty of expectation after the striker’s £45 million move from RB Leipzig.

For me, Chelsea’s best piece of business was the signing of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, a deal that was done on a pre contract basis back in January. The £33.3 million signing impressed during his time in Ajax and his part in their run to the Champions League semi final in the 2018-19 season.

Ziyech after his goal against Tottenham during the Champions League semi final in May 2019.

He oozes class and looks a great technical player. His ability on the ball leaves defenders in their wake and his 79 goals and 97 assists in 216 Eredivisie games shows his capability not only to score goals but also to set them up.

Thiago Silva has come in on a free after his time ended at PSG, which for me is a risk free deal. Chelsea have missed a leader in the centre of defence since John Terry’s departure and Silva comes in and offers this straight away.

Silva during his time at AC Milan.

The Brazilian may not be the same player he used to be at the age of 35 but he was solid at the back in the 2020 Champions League final where PSG lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich. He will be able to lead both on the pitch as well as in the dressing room.

Alongside Silva will be £45 million signing Ben Chilwell from Leicester. The 23 year old left back will be able to occupy the position for many years to come with his ability to defend, go forward and put balls in the box. This will help the aforementioned Timo Werner get the service he requires to be a success in South West London.

Frank Lampard’s side seem to have all the pieces they need to challenge. The goalkeeper situation has not been fixed with no apparent replacement for Kepa anytime soon but Christian Pulisic had a brilliant first season for the Stamford Beisge side and Mason Mount had his moments for the club in 2019-20. Young centre back Malang Sarr has also been brought in but Chelsea have confirmed he will be loaned out this upcoming season.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 18: Mason Mount of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on August 18, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

However, there are factors where Chelsea may fall short in the 2020-21 season. All these players need to settle in at the club in order to all be able to play together. The language barrier is going to be something the players are going to have to overcome. Apart from Ben Chilwell, none of the new signings have played in the Premier League before.

English football is arguably the hardest league in the world to play in and these new faces will have to get used to it.

Chelsea fans should not be discouraged by this. Excluding Thiago Silva, all the new signings are young and filled with heaps of potential. Chelsea fans should be looking at the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons for their side to really challenge for the Premier League.

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