Chelsea’s defensive situation is an interesting one, with three centre-backs seeing their contracts at Stamford Bridge expire at the end of the season.
At the moment, defensive trio Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen all see their deals with the Blues expire when the season concludes, but the club are working on extending those contracts.
There seems to be quiet confidence that Silva and Christensen will extend their stays, but with Rudiger – it is different. Several recent reports suggest that Chelsea and the Germany international are still some way off meeting each other in negotiations and with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid said to be sniffing around, it looks more and more likely that the defender will leave the club at the end of the season.
Unless all three of these defenders do sign new contracts at Stamford Bridge, which does seem unlikely at this point, then Thomas Tuchel will be tasked with bringing one or two new centre-backs to west London.
The latest name to be linked is Leicester City star Wesley Fofana, who was fantastic for the Foxes last term in what was his debut season in the Premier League. However, the 20-year-old, who is valued at £36million on Transfermarkt, has not played a minute so far during this campaign after picking up a serious injury in pre-season.
Another man whose name refuses to go away is Sevilla and France defender Jules Kounde.
Kounde was targeted by Chelsea throughout the summer transfer window, but the European champions failed to agree on a price with Sevilla. The France international is believed to have a £68.7million release clause in his contract.
It does seem that signing both of these French defenders is a possibility, especially if one or two of Christensen, Rudiger or Silva was to leave at the end of the season.
With this being said, football.london takes a close look at three different ways Tuchel could set up his defensive line if the French duo are signed.
The ideal scenario is Rudiger, who has been one of the Premier League’s best defensive players this year, staying at Chelsea and the duo being signed.
The German usually plays on the left-hand side of the back three under Tuchel, and this could see Fofana slot in the centre and Kounde to the right of him. That defensive trio would have immense pace and physical abilities.
Alternatively, if Rudiger, Silva and Christensen do leave, then Trevoh Chalobah could be relied on more next season. Chalobah has been impressive when called upon this term and looks set to have a really bright future at Chelsea.
As well as this, recent reports have suggested that Silva could be set for another 12-month contract extension at the Blues after another impressive campaign so far.
Silva usually operates in the middle of a back three and has excelled there with Rudiger and Christensen alongside him. Bringing Fofana and Kounde to the club would add more pace than what Tuchel currently has – an attribute that can prove very helpful with the wide centre-backs in a three-back formation.
There is of course a case to be made for Malang Sarr, but we have not seen too much of the French defender in a Chelsea shirt just yet – but that could change if there is an exodus from Stamford Bridge in the summer.