Rice and Kounde sign, no deal with Nunez – Best and worst of Chelsea’s summer transfer window

It may seem like a long way off right now, but the summer 2022 transfer window is slowly closing in on us. Chelsea have nine matches – with possibly 10 if they reach the FA Cup final – remaining from the 2021/22 campaign, and after this ‘silly season’ will be upon us.

Hopefully the club can sort out the owner’s situation before the summer transfer window rolls around, so that the current ban on any transfer-related business can be lifted. This should be the case, the deadline for submitting offers has now passed.

Everyone at Chelsea hopes that will be the case as the summer transfer window could be very important for the club in terms of in and out. Thomas Tuchel will surely want to bring new players to the club to strengthen his squad as the Blues look to close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City next season.

READ MORE: Five Chelsea stars who can be sold to fund Darwin Nunez transfer after superb performance at Liverpool

On top of that, players like Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen – two key centre-backs at the club – see their contracts expire at the end of the season. With each passing day, the duo’s departure looks more and more likely.

Chelsea have been linked with several players already ahead of the summer window, despite a transfer ban currently in place. So, that being said, football.london looks back at the best and worst case scenario for the Blues this summer.

Best case scenario

The window isn’t open yet, but Chelsea’s preference for new players seems clear. The club want a central defender, a central midfielder and an attacking player.

As mentioned above, Rudiger and Christensen are expected to end their careers at Stamford Bridge. Jules Kounde is the man Chelsea want. However, the Sevilla centre-back is being watched by numerous clubs across Europe which could turn into a bidding war at the end of the season.

The Blues would be in the lead for the signing of Koundé. The club have had a close relationship with the player and his representatives since nearly signing him almost 12 months ago.

Kounde, 23, has been in superb form for Sevilla this season which prompted Chelsea to take a big step forward at the end of the season. If the Blues can sign the young French international, then he could be an ideal replacement for Christensen or Rudiger.

Meanwhile, a central midfielder also remains a priority for Chelsea. Ross Barkley is set to leave the club as he enters the final 12 months of his current contract, while Saul Niguez is set to return to Atletico Madrid after an unsuccessful loan spell at Stamford Bridge.

The future of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante is unclear, with both midfielders nearing the final year of their respective contracts. A new midfielder is a must for Chelsea. A long-time partner for constantly improving Mateo Kovacic.

Declan Rice would be the perfect addition for Chelsea. A boyhood Blues supporter, came through the academy and he more than proved himself to be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

However, he could cost north of £100m, which is less than ideal for Chelsea and could force them to look elsewhere. Aurélien Tchouameni is an option. football.london understands that no club has been watching the AS Monaco midfielder for longer than the Blues.

Either of the two talented midfielders would be perfect for Chelsea, but Rice is perhaps the more ideal person. Value for money, however, Tchouameni might be the smarter investment.

Moving higher up the pitch, Chelsea continue to be linked with a new centre-forward. Timo Werner, although showing signs he could finally get into his groove at the Blues, has been linked with a return to Germany. Romelu Lukaku’s first season back in England has been less than ideal and the Belgian could end his second spell in west London when the summer transfer window opens.

It seems unlikely that Chelsea will allow them both to leave, with Kai Havertz the only other option to play the number nine role. But even if one of them were to leave, the Blues could be forced to enter the transfer market.

Enter Darwin Nunez. In recent days, Chelsea have linked up with the talented Benfica striker, whose stock is rising in Europe with his performances this season.

The 22-year-old showed his talent against Liverpool over two legs recently, putting potential suitors on red alert. Reports suggest that Benfica won’t stand in the way of Nunez if he wants to leave the Portuguese club, but that means there could be a queue of potential suitors knocking on his door.

If Chelsea can sign Kounde, Rice/Tchouameni and Nunez then that would be the ideal summer transfer window for the Blues. Although at this stage it seems unlikely that all three of them will move to Stamford Bridge.

worst case scenario

The worst-case scenario would see Rudiger and Christensen leave the club, as planned, and no replacements signed by Chelsea. There are a plethora of centre-back options in Europe for the Blues to pursue.

Pau Torres, who has previously been linked with Chelsea, Matthijs de Ligt, whose future at Juventus looks uncertain, and Eder Militao are just three centre-backs apart from Kounde the Blues could consider. There are surely plans in place behind the scenes at the club to replace the two defenders who will soon be leaving.

Likewise, if Chelsea fail to bring a new midfielder to the club, it could be bad news. Kante is now 31, while Jorginho is also 31 this year. It is now up to the club to find a long-term solution, with both of their contract situations not resolved until the start of next season.

Both Rice and Tchouameni are highly sought after players, but that’s to be expected for young top midfielders. Chelsea must ensure they are ahead of the queue for both players and look to fend off fierce competition.

The striker’s situation is interesting. It remains to be seen with Werner as he could continue and finish the season strong after his three goals in his last two matches. With Lukaku once recovered from his Achilles problem, the Belgian faces a huge end to the campaign, with questions raised over whether he is a good fit for Tuchel’s way of playing.

Chelsea should be looking to sign at least one attacking player, even if it’s a winger, with continued links to Ousmane Dembele. If, however, the Blues are unable to bring a new attacking player to the deck, that would not sit well with the club’s fanbase.

If Chelsea fail to strengthen their squad this summer, with centre-back, midfielder and forward all in need of attention, then it would be the worst-case scenario for the west Londoners. It would also allow their Premier League rivals to pounce on their uncertainty and charge towards their goals.