Pochettino believes Chelsea are 'building something'
Mauricio Pochettino has splashed the cash since becoming Chelsea manager, though one could argue that he is simply trying to make up for the mistakes made by those who sat in the Stamford Bridge dugout before him. The Blues have sold numerous top players previously, may that be due to contractual situations or their cut-throat attitude, and they would have a sensational starting XI if those players had remained with the club. Express Sport takes a look at how Chelsea could have lined up this season if those stars did not depart…
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Although he left the club on a sour note, Courtois would undoubtedly improve the Chelsea squad markedly. The Belgium international was granted a move to Real Madrid after he made it clear that he would like to be closer to his family, and he has proven why he was so highly regarded by the Blues. Courtois is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and his experience and leadership would be priceless in Pochettino’s dressing room.
Defence: Reece James, Antonio Rudiger, Fikayo Tomori, Levi Colwill
Pochettino appears to view captain James and Colwill as his long-term fullback pairing, though there is immense uncertainty surrounding his centre-backs. Nonetheless, the ex-Tottenham boss would have a far less tricky decision to make if Rudiger remained at the club, among others.
The German international left the Blues after contract talks broke down after months of negotiations, though his significant wage demands would be no issue at Stamford Bridge nowadays. Chelsea have also allowed numerous other defenders to depart who are capable of playing a key role at the club today, such as Tomori, Marc Guehi and Nathan Ake.
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Midfield: Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo, Kevin De Bruyne
Todd Boehly and his recruitment team have made it their mission to create one of the best midfields in Europe, though the final piece of the puzzle left the club in 2014. De Bruyne is arguably the biggest ‘what if’ story at Chelsea, having spent two years at the club before joining Wolfsburg for £18million. The Belgium international is one of the best midfielders to grace the Premier League and would have provided the know-how and creativity to form a top-quality trio with Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo.
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Forwards: Mohamed Salah, Tammy Abraham, Mykhaylo Mudryk
An equally premature sale was Chelsea’s decision to allow Salah to leave the club after making just 13 Premier League appearances. The Egypt international’s lack of minutes under Jose Mourinho and no guarantees of opportunities further down the line prompted the winger to make the decision to head to the Serie A, where he truly showed his potential and earned himself a move back to England, where the rest is history.
Chelsea are expected to be in the market for a striker in the upcoming transfer windows after Nicolas Jackson’s difficult start to life at the club, though there would be no issue for Pochettino to deal with if Abraham was not sold in 2021 – in a questionable decision at the time. The England international has all the qualities that the Blues are looking for in a No.9, and the 26-year-old could have been an example of Cobham’s superiority if the club were willing to allow him patience in his first-team development.
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