Dissecting Chelsea's squad: A guide to the Blues' winter transfer window
In the summer of 2018, there was a cloud of uncertainty that was cast upon Chelsea. After a fall-out with the board and a few key members in the squad, Antonio Conte was shown the exit door at Stamford Bridge after a relatively successful spell in England, having won the Premier League in 2016/17 and the 2017/18 FA Cup. There was no confirmation until much later in the transfer window regarding their new head coach or any major signings.
Maurizio Sarri was then unveiled as the new manager, almost immediately followed by the signing of Jorginho Frello, the loan signing of Mateo Kovacic and the world-record transfer of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Considering the season that the Italian had with Chelsea, finishing 3rd in the table and winning the UEFA Europa League, he wasn't a manager who was expected to lose his job at the end of the season. Whether he was sacked by Chelsea or he chose to leave for Turin is a debate for another day. The matter at hand in the 2019 summer was that of Sarri's successor, and Chelsea looked no further than club legend Frank Lampard for the role.
Now, the Englishman has had a superb season with the London club so far. Currently sitting 4th on the Premier League table with 36 points and with a Champions League tie against Bayern Munich set to be played in the Round of 16, it's safe to say that Lampard has exceeded expectations. This is also due to the circumstances the club were in, i.e. the transfer ban imposed on them as well as the departure of star Belgian Eden Hazard.
Although Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic's arrivals were helpful to the club's ambitions, it is clear that Chelsea are due a lavish summer of spending in the transfer market. Most of their expenditure over the last few years has been funded by the Blues' excellent negotiating and extorting of large sums of money for their players.
Considering all the uncertainty that they have faced over the last two to three seasons, things appear to be falling into place at Stamford Bridge, especially with their progress this year as well as the upliftment of their transfer ban.
That being said, here, we take a detailed look at their squad and analyse their strengths, weaknesses and try to predict the nature of their activity in the January and summer transfer windows.
Players: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Willy Caballero
Courtois made it pretty clear to the Blues that he wanted out to fulfil his life-long dream of playing for Real Madrid. His departure was a matter of when and not if, and after it finally transpired, Chelsea were forced to dip into the market.
The Blues chose to activate the release clause of promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to replace Courtois and the Spaniard, after a series of memorable moments and saves, looks set for a long-term stay at Stamford Bridge. This is, of course, understandable considering their £72m investment in the former Athletic Bilbao man and the whopping 7-year contract that they tied him down to.
There were rumours regarding a potential replacement being lined up after a string of poor performances from the Spaniard, although nothing ever seemingly materialised. His infamous stand-off with Maurizio Sarri while refusing to come off the pitch after being subbed off will be remembered for years to come. The man who was set to replace him, Willy Caballero has been a steady back-up for the Spanish goalkeeper and has a season or two left in the tank to continue serving Chelsea.
Chelsea are unlikely to do any business this winter or come summer for this area of the pitch. Arrizabalaga is set to wear the Londoners' shirt for years to come.