New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has so much to do with the current squad if Thomas Tuchel is set to step up next season

SUMMERTIME goes hand in hand with excess baggage as millions of us head abroad for a fortnight in the sun.

But it has a very different meaning for Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, who is now just weeks away from welcoming many of his players back from their joys to begin the hard work of preparing for next season.

Thomas Tuchel will have plenty to do on his return to Cobham


Thomas Tuchel will have plenty to do on his return to CobhamCredit: PA
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has a busy summer


New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has a busy summerPhoto credit: AFP

The first day of pre-season training is Saturday 2 July for the non-national teams, with the rest drifting back in dribbling and murk after that.

Still, Tuchel will be at their Cobham training ground, smiling but facing the most challenging task of a Premier League boss – and his coaching career.

The Blues find themselves in the boardroom during quieter times, with the turmoil of regime change and the successful sale of the club.

But American tycoon Todd Boehly, who is spearheading new ownership to rebuild the team into a team capable of pushing for its first title in six years, needs to make a big slot in his schedule to deal with any troubles within the senior team and beyond to solve .

Everywhere where Tuchel looks, there are obstacles to overcome.

He could field a whole XI of players who either want to leave, sign new contracts or have yet to convince the demanding German that they have a long-term future at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea finished third last season, far from top two Manchester City and Liverpool.

Tuchel admits it will be “impossible” to play a comeback in just a few weeks before his side’s season opener at Everton on August 6.


From back to front there are conversations to be had, deals to be made or players to be handed over – no other top boss has so much in his drawer.

It starts between the posts with frustrated keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper cost Chelsea £71.6m four years ago at the age of just 23.

But his prospects of becoming the regular No. 1 have dwindled instead of improving

The decisive low point was reached at the Club World Cup in February.

After shining in the triumphant semi-final against Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, he prayed he had done enough to retain his place in the game against Palmeiras – only to face Edouard Mendy, coming from the Africa Cup of Nations, as the Blues defeated the Brazilians 2-1 in extra time.

It’s an episode that Kepa hasn’t forgotten and one that will be hard to revisit.

Tuchel has no doubt that Mendy is his first choice, but firing a super-expensive, high-wage player who has barely played is a big question.
Chelsea’s defense is full of holes.

Unofficial leader Antonio Rüdiger is moving to Real Madrid on a free transfer.

Kepa is stuck behind the impressive Edouard Mendy


Kepa is stuck behind the impressive Edouard MendyPhoto credit: Rex
Antonio Rüdiger said goodbye to Stamford Bridge


Antonio Rüdiger said goodbye to Stamford BridgePhoto credit: Reuters

Someone like the aggressive German is hard to replace physically and financially.

Andreas Christensen also leaves and robs Tuchel of two experienced centre-backs.

Thiago Silva stays behind. World class, yes, and 38 in September.

Since club captain Cesar Azpilicueta is also unsettled and wants to return to Spain, the defense has more gaps than the underground.

Left-back Marcos Alonso has made no secret of his desire to leave, leaving Ben Chilwell with just two minutes on the pitch following a serious knee injury last November.

It will be months before the former England star has 100 per cent confidence in his recovering leg.

Engineering work is also popular in the middle of the park.

Classy midfielder Jorginho has expressed a desire to return to Italy.

Ben Chilwell briefly returned to action on the final day


Ben Chilwell briefly returned to action on the final dayPhoto credit: Reuters
Jorginho could return to Serie A this summer


Jorginho could return to Serie A this summerCredit: Alamy

Saul Niguez has packed his bags and returned to Atletico Madrid after a disastrous all-season loan at Stamford Bridge that fell far short of expectations on all sides. After all, Tuchel can count on the drive and commitment of 23-year-old Mason Mount – at least for the foreseeable future.

The academy graduate will act as the next captain if and when Azpilicueta departs.

But if nothing happens this summer, one of English football’s greatest talents will start the season with less than two years left on his contract.

Tuchel prides himself on staying out of contract talks but needs to ensure this is settled sooner rather than later.

Loyalty and affection are all very good but cementing a contract for Mount will not be easy and will cost Chelsea.

The club are under pressure to start proceedings as soon as possible, along with 22-year-old England defender Reece James who is under contract until the summer of 2025.

N’Golo Kante, the linchpin of the entire team – described as “our De Bruyne, Mbappe and Mo Salah” – has one year left on his contract.

With such praise, all it takes is a massive new deal, and that’s going to hit the coffers hard.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek still has to regularly deliver the potential that Tuchel all too often alludes to.

Players like N'Golo Kante don't come cheap


Players like N’Golo Kante don’t come cheapPhoto credit: AFP
Many blues stars have an uncertain future


Many blues stars have an uncertain futurePhoto credit: AFP

Tuchel wants this 6ft 3in athletic midfielder – who clearly has the skill – to come out of his shell.

Rewind two or three years and forward Callum Hudson-Odoi was an English player.

He is currently struggling to overcome a nagging, long-term Achilles tendon problem that was wiped out last season.

But up front, Romelu Lukaku faces the biggest question mark.

Just eight Prem goals for £97.5m is a poor return since he returned to Chelsea from Inter Milan last summer.

The Belgian wants to go back to Italy and Chelsea are happy to help him pack.

But a £325,000-a-week wage makes him difficult to change and it also leaves Tuchel with the problem of who can replace him.

Chelsea’s US owners know Christian Pulisic all too well.

The Pennsylvania man is his country’s captain and just the face Boehly needs to take the club forward in the United States.

Yet Pulisic has not delivered regularly, is prone to injury and opts for international duty to complain about his lack of playing time under Tuchel.

It’s another item on the manager’s busy agenda before he even thinks about picking a team for Everton.

Christian Pulisic could be Chelsea's next face... if he could find fitness and consistency


Christian Pulisic could be Chelsea’s next face… if he could find fitness and consistencyCredit: Alamy New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has so much to do with the current squad if Thomas Tuchel is set to step up next season


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