Chelsea already has ‘private weapon’ to unlock Enzo Fernandez as £26m transfer option seen

Chelsea already has ‘private weapon’ to unlock Enzo Fernandez as £26m transfer option seen

Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino must address three key positions in the summer, in addition to devising exit strategies for significant portions of their increasingly fatigued squad. Before the 1-0 loss to Manchester City, many members of this current group had already checked out on both a mental and physical level.

The team’s fourth defeat to Pep Guardiola’s squad this season was likely the least shocking. Even on another coronation day for England’s kings, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea were unable to strike against Europe’s top dogs. The cumulative losses against City for the season amount to an ignominious but realistic 8-0 defeat.

To compete with the juggernaut sweeping all before them in the upcoming season, they will need to replace more than 15 players this summer while also making the proper acquisitions. The club has failed to resolve the core of the team despite spending over £550 million in the past year, leaving it vulnerable, fragile, and weak.

It’s not a good look for the new owners, but early indications suggest they’re searching in the correct places for the next window. Although the summer acquisitions were haphazard, the winter acquisitions at least followed some semblance of a plan, even if it resulted in enormous squad issues for the second half of the season.

Going into the summer under Pochettino, such errors cannot be made. The Argentine will seek out a new goalkeeper, defensive midfielder, and striker in accordance with his rigorous but also ruthless approach to squad construction. Even with the abundance of returning loan players, holes will likely remain.

Romelu Lukaku could fill the striker position if his objectives align with those of the club, but a third time is not necessarily a charm. In the past year, the goalkeeping situation has deteriorated to the extent where two new faces may be required. The defensive midfielder requires the most attention.
Before Enzo Fernandez joined on the final day of the transfer window nearly five months ago, it had been over four years since a permanent midfield signing, let alone a midfield mainstay, had been made. With Nemanja Matic, Claude Makelele, and even Michael Essien in a box-to-box role, Chelsea’s illustrious history with destroyer-type midfielders had been positive for a very long time. They have yet to effectively replace Matic.

This has resulted in Fernandez being pigeonholed into a position that is not optimally adapted to his extensive skill set, causing him problems with ball progression, impact, and creativity. He has done a good job regardless, but the 22-year-old has much more potential if he is partnered with the proper type of man.

This has prompted Chelsea to consider Romeo Lavia, Declan Rice, Manuel Ugarte, and Moises Caicedo among others for the upcoming summer transfer window. The majority had also been monitored prior to this season. The addition of Denis Zakaria as a loan solves very little, and they are back to square one.

Despite the loss to City, Lampard praised the midfield, saying, “I liked the midfield, I thought Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] was really good, level of game to come in and demonstrate those beautiful attributes he has, you can see he moves the ball.

“Enzo’s attitude was fantastic across the back. I’m aware that we made a mistake that led to the goal, but once we resolved the issues between the lines, we went in and stayed in.”

Conor Gallagher joined Fernandez and Loftus-Cheek in the middle of the field, but it was not enough to force a win. Although all three have their advantages, they do not provide sufficient protection for the defense or supply for the attack.

Here, Lavia comes into play. The 18-year-old’s Southampton début against the Blues in August was so impressive that a late offer was made for him, despite having joined the club only two months earlier from Manchester City. After Saints were relegated, with 25 percent of their points coming against Chelsea, it is anticipated that he will switch teams and ascend once more.

According to Fabrizio Romano, the Blues have an advantage over the competition because they have invested significantly in young talent. Joe Shields, Chelsea’s new director of recruitment, was instrumental in establishing Lavia’s career at both City and Southampton. His recent relocation to SW6 from the south coast may prove to be a secret weapon in the event of prospective negotiations.

If he is not an attainable objective, then other options are also available. Romano also verified that Manu Kone, a midfielder for Borussia Monchengladbach, is being monitored. He has a price tag of approximately £26 million and would be significantly cheaper than the other players listed.

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Pochettino must also consider the balance of his midfield, as Mason Mount, Gallagher, Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, and N’Golo Kante are all potential summer transfers. Although there is optimism that Kante and Mount will sign new contracts, it still raises significant concerns that cannot necessarily be answered by spending more money on new players.

Chelsea already has ‘private weapon’ to unlock Enzo Fernandez as £26m transfer option seen