Chelsea prioritised quality over quantity during last summer’s transfer window.
The Blues already had a large and very talented squad, courtesy of a huge spending spree in 2020, so the club concentrated its resources on buying a world-class striker to complete Thomas Tuchel’s dream starting XI.
In the end, £98million was forked out to re-sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan, with the only other significant arrivals being the loan signing of Saul Niguez and the free transfer of goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.
The signing of Lukaku was undoubtedly a success to begin with, as he scored four goals in as many matches for the Blues at the start of the season.
That was followed by a lean run of seven matches without a goal, with an injury picked up in the 4-0 Champions League victory over Malmo at Stamford Bridge proving to the be the last time he turned out for the west Londoners.
Chelsea are top of the Premier League table after 11 games with just one loss to their name, however, with the league looking even more open and competitive than usual, club director Marina Granovskaia will no doubt be looking to strengthen Tuchel’s side even further when the January transfer window opens.
With multiple high-profile players already linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, we take a look at who could be at the top of Chelsea’s shopping list.
N’Golo Kante is quite simply one of the best players to have ever worn Chelsea blue.
The defensive midfielder has been a vital part of the club’s recent trophy haul that includes the Premier League in 2017 and the Champions League in 2021.
But now the wrong side of 30, and with just 19 months left on his contract, the time has come to find Kante’s successor and Aurelien Tchouameni is the name on everyone’s lips.
The 21-year-old was named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year last season, after a sensational campaign for Monaco, and is already a fully-fledged France international.
According to teamTALK, the Blues already have a plan in place to secure Tchouameni for next season at a cost of £40million, but they’ll need to act quickly before his stock rises and other interested parties come calling.
Tchouameni isn’t the only young midfielder wanted at Stamford Bridge, with El Nacional reporting that Barcelona’s Gavi could be on his way to North London.
The 17-year-old wonderkid has already made 14 appearances for the La Liga giants this season, and Chelsea are reportedly interested in triggering his £41million release clause.
If this is true, they’ll need to act quickly as Gavi and Barcelona are in discussions over a new contract that will no doubt see the release clause increased to a price they would be unwilling to pay.
Last summer, Chelsea sold two highly rated centre-backs in Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori, and it’s looking increasingly likely that Antonio Rudiger will be following them through the exit door.
The German’s contract expires next summer and negotiations over a new deal have stalled once again, with the club reportedly unwilling to meet his wage demands.
The club are now looking at contingency options and according to Foot Mercato, they have initiated contact with Wesley Fofana’s representatives regarding a potential move.
The 20-year-old was outstanding for Leicester City last season but is yet to feature in this campaign after suffering a broken leg in August.
Nevertheless, a fully fit Fofana would walk into Tuchel’s back-three, and the player has recently stated his interest in moving to Chelsea.
Should Chelsea find themselves priced out of a move for Fofana, a much cheaper alternative could be available come January.
Like Rudiger, Niklas Sule is also running down his contract and could be available on a cut-price deal from Bayern Munich.
With Bayern one of the clubs linked with Rudiger, a whole or partial swap deal between the two could also be on the cards, but the latest reports from Bild suggest that the Bundesliga champions have offered a new contract to Sule to extend his stay in Germany, putting the entire transfer at risk.
Even though the signing of Lukaku broke the club’s transfer record, Tuchel is still keen on adding another striker to his roster, and who better than Erling Haaland.
The 21-year-old Norwegian is the very definition of a ‘goal-machine’, having found the back of the net 70 times in 69 appearances for Borussia Dortmund since 2020.
While Real Madrid have been most linked with Haaland, reports say that the Spanish giants have given up as they believe the player wants to play in England, with Chelsea and Manchester United the front-runners.
Haaland’s release clause of £63million becomes active next summer, a small price to pay for one of the world’s best and brightest footballing talents, so Chelsea should be ready to throw all their financial might behind this move as soon as possible.
Perhaps the most unbelievable transfer rumour of them all, Eden Hazard could be on his way back to Chelsea in January.
The four-time Blues Player of the Year left Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid in 2019 for £103.5million, a transfer that has proved disastrous for Los Blancos, as injuries and bad form have plagued Hazard since he arrived in Spain.
Madrid are now ready to shift the Belgian playmaker on and are willing to loan out Hazard, with his former club reportedly interested.