How Chelsea can get through the transfer ban
Chelsea faces a two-window transfer ban that could derail all transfer plans, and the club needs vision and planning to get through this testing period.
Over the past decade, Chelsea has made leaps and bounds in English Football. They have won many trophies after the turn of the century and have truly become a force in football.
Chelsea, however, is about to run into deep trouble as FIFA has announced a transfer ban for two windows. Chelsea must smartly look towards their players out on loan and in the academy to save themselves. Here we look at a possible blueprint, position by position, for Chelsea next season.
Chelsea has traditionally had some legendary centre forwards. Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o are some of the first names that come to mind.
Chelsea currently has 2 centre forwards in the first team, Olivier Giroud and Gonzalo Higuain. Giroud remains an impact option off the bench while Higuain has failed to adapt (or score for that matter) in England.
Next season, Chelsea have to look at their options on loan. Tammy Abraham at Aston Villa and Michy Batshuayi at Crystal Palace are strikers Chelsea possesses.
Tammy has been in amazing form this season. He has literally set the Championship on fire. He is an academy product and should be slowly integrated into the team. Batshuayi, after a horrendous loan, has not been scoring much but has become a vital member for the Eagles in a supporting role.
The ideal plan for next season should be to give Batshuayi a chance as the starter and tie Giroud to an extension. Tammy cannot be suddenly promoted to the first team. He must go on loan to an established Premier League side like West Ham or Wolves where he could find his feet in the League.
Chelsea has a variety of wingers currently, with more developing in the academy.
Eden Hazard's future is unknown and Pedro & Willian are ageing. From a long term perspective, Chelsea needs to find themselves, two good wingers, to start. Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi could be playing together next season but it seems highly unlikely with Hazard's move seeming inevitable.
Christian Pulisic will be joining Cobham in the summer and could play alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi, who looks likely to stay after he started back to back Premier League matches recently. Chelsea should look to start Hudson and Pulisic next season with either of Willian or Pedro serving as a backup and sharing valuable experience.
Chelsea's midfield looks set for a few more years, with options in every position. They can, however, try and settle an academy player on the bench to train with the first team and learn from the starters.
Maurizio Sarri's regista, Jorghinho, and world cup winner, N'Golo Kante, are in their prime and have long term contracts at Chelsea. Mateo Kovacic must go back to Madrid next season while Ruben Loftus-Cheek, another "one of our own", and Ross Barkley continue to battle it out for the attacking midfielder position.
Mason Mount is one loanee at Derby County who has improved immensely and should be awarded a loan to the Bundesliga or a Premier League side next season.
The defence is where the biggest questions are asked. Chelsea's defence has been awful this season, committing some terrible mistakes and often failing to organise themselves.
In the middle of the backline, Chelsea has a soon to be 32-year-old, David Luiz. While Luiz has an outstanding ball playing ability, the same cannot be said about his defensive capabilities. He has been unreliable throughout the season.
Andreas Christensen from the academy must be moved into his place. His playing time has increased since the start of the season but he should be playing alongside Antonio Rudiger week in, week out. Rudiger is perhaps the most likely candidate to take the captaincy band after Cesar Azpilicueta decides to hang up his boots.
An academy graduate, Ethan Ampadu already has his full international debut and would be thirsty for minutes. But Ampadu's best position is yet to be seen, hence he must be sent on loan next season to a Premier League side where he could be rotated between the holding midfield and centre-back role.
Kurt Zouma has been performing consistently this season at Everton. Zouma has to be called up next season and rotated with Rudiger and Christensen at centreback.
The right-back position belongs to the captain, Cesar "Dave" Azpilicueta. He is arguably the most reliable defender in the Premier League. He should continue to serve Chelsea for the 2-3 more years left in his prime. Reece James, another player on loan, has been the best player at his club by miles. He should be the deputy to Dave next season.
Left-back has Emerson Palmeiri and Marcos Alonso who have been doing fine this season. Ola Aina on loan has been exceptional and should be called up to be the deputy with either of Emerson or Alonso being sold.
Kepa Arrizabalaga arrived in the summer amid much criticism for being overexpensive. He has however done his best to shut critics up and has slowly found his feet in the league. He has the longest contract on the roster and should be guarding the Chelsea net for the next decade.
Willy Caballero's contract expires next season and a young keeper has to be promoted. Jamal Blackman or Marcin Bulka should be getting some games as the second choice keeper at Chelsea.
The Blues might have some initial problems due to the transfer ban, but this can be overcome with smart decisions and serious planning.
Feel free to agree or disagree, and share your opinions in the comments!