By Jonathan Lewis | 23rd APR 2020
Nobody truly knows when the season is going to resume just yet, but the table at the end of the campaign could determine what kind of players Chelsea can attract to the club ahead of next season. Finish in the top four and Stamford Bridge suddenly becomes a desirable option. It is anyway regardless of where the Blues finish this season, but Champions League football is a deal-breaker for some players, which is understandable.
Frank Lampard’s side are around 8/11 to finish in the top four this year, which looks a good bet considering the three-point cushion and winnable games against Villa, West Ham, Norwich, Sheffield United, and Palace still to come.
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So how will the Blues line up for the 2020/21 Premier League season? Let’s take a look at some possible ins and outs.
It looks increasingly likely that we might have to say goodbye to Willian and Olivier Giroud at the end of the current season. They want regular first-team football, and you can understand that. They’re both great players, and Willian has been fantastic for the Blues over the years. But if they both move on then, it will allow Chelsea to sign a couple of top-notch replacements.
Other fringe players that look like they could make way for some new faces include:
- Pedro – He’s already said that he’ll probably move on once his contract is up this summer.
- Willy Caballero – Another player out of contract soon, and at 38, it’s time to get a younger replacement.
- Michy Batshuayi – The potential is there, but he can’t find his way past Tammy Abraham in the starting eleven. He will no doubt want regular playing time.
- Emerson Palmieri – Actually looked pretty good at the back end of last season, but he lacks consistency.
- Ross Barkley – He hasn’t progressed as he and the fans would have liked. He’s a good player, and there’s no denying that, but it’s challenging to replace those above him in the pecking order.
Hakim Ziyech is the name on everyone’s lips. Deal done, Chelsea have reached an agreement, and he’s signed and raring to go next season. He’ll expect to be playing week in week out, but no position is guaranteed under Lampard. Unless you’re Mason Mount. If he keeps playing so well, he can keep that position for the next few years.
In recent weeks there have been links to Borussia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice at West Ham, and even Moussa Dembele at Lyon and Barcelona’s Phillipe Coutinho. It remains to be seen if any of those moves happen, but it’s undoubtedly going to be a busy transfer window.
Let’s not forget the youngsters either! With Cesar Azpilicueta getting on a bit, Reece James might make that right-back berth his own next season. Then you’ve got this season’s gem Billy Gilmour. He’s done so well since he was given a chance due to injuries that Frank Lampard is going to find it hard not to leave him out of every matchday squad going forward. Next season might come too soon for him in terms of regular game time, but he should get a fair few matches under his belt that will stand him in good stead for the following season.
Another youngster who hasn’t broken through yet but may well do so next year is Armando Broja. With the likes of Giroud and Batshuayi probably leaving, this young kid could make the step up with ease from the academy. A proper number nine. Remember the name for next season.
Chelsea Starting XI
As we’ve mentioned, it remains to be seen what signings will happen between now and the start of next season, but here’s how Chelsea could line up ahead of the 2020/21 season:
- GK – Kepa
- RB – James
- CB – Rudiger
- CB – Zouma
- LB – Alonso
- CM – Kante
- CM – Kovacic
- CM – Rice
- RW – Sancho
- LW – Ziyech
ST – Abraham
Jonathan Lewis is an MFF Sports Writer