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With Mauricio Pochettino in advanced talks to take over as manager of Chelsea, BBC Sport enlisted the help of regular fan writer Will Faulks from Chelsea News to assess how far away the Blues are from being good again. Chelsea have spent more than £600m since finishing third last season, yet they are likely to set a record-low points total this season.
Goalkeeper is a long-established weak point in the team, with Kepa Arrizabalaga failing to fill the hole left by Thibaut Courtois when he departed for Real Madrid. Edouard Mendy briefly held the gloves after signing from Rennes in September 2020, but has since become second in line.
At full-back, Ben Chilwell and Reece James are among the best in Europe, but their on-pitch appearances are all too rare due to injury. Malo Gusto looks set to be a good back-up for James on the right, but the left side is more questionable after Marc Cucurella’s largely horrific debut season.
Chelsea have plenty of options in central defence and will be even better set when Levi Colwill returns from his successful season on loan at Brighton. They have conceded the third-fewest goals in the league this season, so they must be doing something right.
The engine room is stacked with talent – Premier League record signing Enzo Fernandez marries silk with steel while there are few better in world football than N’Golo Kante at running a midfield. Mateo Kovacic and Conor Gallagher bring tenacity and dynamism, but they are all a bit similar.
Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard have all struggled to work out the conundrum of who to pick in attacking midfield. Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount are seemingly on their way out of Stamford Bridge, which may make the equation simpler for the new boss.
Chelsea’s lack of goals has been stark this season, with just 30 scored in 32 league games and only one goal in all competitions in their past seven games. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not the long-term answer, while January signing David Datro Fofana is raw and Armando Broja remains in recovery from a knee injury. Romelu Lukaku is still on their books, but it is unclear if he can resurrect his career at Stamford Bridge.
Overall, Chelsea need to solve their striker problem if they are to compete for the top four – let alone the title – and it will take some dismantling this summer to figure out who works.