Chelsea set for defensive rebuild in summer of 2022
At a club that is famed for always being a step ahead of the rest of the continent when it comes to transfer dealings, it looks like Chelsea might have been caught short for once. The Blues have enjoyed a wonderful revival under Thomas Tuchel, creating a side has become European champions and has every chance of winning both domestic and European honours this year. However, despite always being on the ball when it comes to transfer dealings, the club appear to have dropped the ball with a series of key defenders at the club.
As of the summer of 2022, the likes of Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen, and veterans Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva will all be out of contract. That is a lot of talent to lose in the one summer; the former duo are high-value assets who could, if nothing else, be sold for good fees. The other duo are veterans with an excellent history in the game, and who have been stalwarts at Chelsea since their arrival.
Silva at least can make some sense, as his late-30s age makes him a player that will always be judged on his level as the season unfolds. Despite uncertainty over how well he could handle the Premier League in his veteran years, Silva has been essential for the Blues as they won again in Europe in 2020.
However, Azpilicueta has shown that he has more than enough left in the tank this season to contribute. Able to play on the wing-back slot or on the right-hand side of a back-three, his leadership, quality, consistency, and reliability have been invaluable since he first arrived from Marseille in 2012. The fact he is linked with high-energy Atletico Madrid shows any doubts about his engine are unfounded.
Will Chelsea avoid a defensive disaster in 2021?
At the moment, it looks like only one of those players could sign a new deal – Silva. Talks with Christensen, the youngest of the group, appear to have stalled and he now has been in and out of the team in-part thanks to this contract wrangle. The Dane looks set to test his own market value in the summer unless Chelsea find a way to make a deal work that suits both parties.
Rüdiger is the most likely to leave as it stands, with the economic demands of the German likely to be beyond what the club are willing to pay. The German has been inconsistent during his time in England, but has found a fine level of form under Tuchel.
Meanwhile, the veteran duo are both set to be examined to see how well they handle their development and growth across the rest of the season. For now, it looks like both players can still maintain a high level, but Chelsea appear unwilling to make a long-term offer to either player.
For now, then, Chelsea look set to have an unnecessarily busy summer next as they look to rebuild their defence. This could be avoided with some new deals, but it looks like few, or any, agreements will be made.