In the 2021-22 Premier League season, Chelsea was expected to be a contender for the league title. After Thomas Tuchel took over the club, he had success in his first few months in charge. He made significant moves in last summer’s transfer market; most notably signing Romelu Lukaku to be the team’s new center-forward.
12 months later, Chelsea enter an important summer. The club is still the closest team in England to competing with Liverpool and Manchester City for the league title, but after a disappointing third place last season they are making several changes this transfer window.
Lukaku’s Return to Italy
When Lukaku returned to Chelsea last summer, it was thought it would be one of the most important and impactful signings of the summer. The forward had scored 30 goals in 44 games in all competitions, with 24 goals and 10 assists in Serie A, during the year prior.
In the same number of appearances at Chelsea last season, Lukaku scored just 15 goals, and only eight of those came in the Premier League. By the end of the season, it became clear Lukaku wanted to leave Chelsea.
During this summer a potential loan deal for Lukaku to return to Inter Milan became a possibility early in the transfer window. The deal is almost completed, and Lukaku’s departure will cause some significant changes to the forward group for Tuchel.
Raheem Sterling, Ousmane Dembele, and Raphinha
While Lukaku departs Chelsea, Tuchel has looked at other options to completely reorganize the club’s attack. Raheem Sterling, Ousmane Dembele, and Raphinha have all been rumored as potential players the club could sign.
Sterling is potentially leaving Manchester City this summer and one of the clubs interested is Chelsea. Over the last few seasons, Sterling has become one of the best forwards in the entire league. He would have a dramatic impact on the ability of Chelsea to increase their offensive output.
In the last several years, Dembele has been thought to be one of the best young players in Europe, but he’s dealt with a series of injuries during his time at Barcelona. Tuchel and Dembele have worked with each other in the past when both were at Borussia Dortmund, and Chelsea could be the perfect place for the young winger to reestablish his career.
Leeds has been one of the most interesting stories in soccer in the last several years after the club returned to the Premier League. Raphinha has been a huge part of the club’s success since returning to the highest level of English soccer. He was Leeds’ top scorer last season and helped the team stay in the Premier League.
Any or all three of these players could have a dramatic effect on the upcoming season for Chelsea. Tuchel has already cultivated a strong defensive team at Chelsea, and adding to the attack could lead to a huge step forward next season.
What the Future Holds for Chelsea
During last season, Chelsea allowed the third-fewest goals in the entire Premier League. The 33 goals they allowed were just seven more than the 26 allowed by both Liverpool and Manchester City.
Tuchel’s teams have always been known for their defensive capabilities. However, Chelsea’s 76 goals last season, while still a strong number compared to the rest of the league, were well behind the top two teams in the table.
The next step forward for Chelsea is clearly a renewed focus on developing the team’s attack. The club has set out to do exactly that this summer with their pursuit of Dembele, Raphinha, and Sterling.
If Tuchel and Chelsea can add to and develop the attack this summer Chelsea could join Manchester City and Liverpool as favorites for the Premier League title. There are still several weeks before the end of the summer transfer window, and Chelsea will be one of the most interesting teams to watch as they try to build towards title contention during the rest of this summer.