Even before a ball has been kicked in the 2017/18 Premier League season, Chelsea fans are on edge.
The Pensioners have indeed made some impressive signings. Alvaro Morata, aged just 24, looks primed to establish a long and successful career at the club while Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko have been warmly received by the Stamford Bridge faithful.
The fans’ most pressing demand this summer was to augment an already light squad to provide Chelsea with additional options in their pursuit of glory on both the domestic and European stages. Despite the aforementioned signings, however, they have failed to do so.
This was put in particularly stark terms in the match programme for the Community Shield, particularly the page showing the squads of both clubs.
Strength in numbers. pic.twitter.com/0d5M0IjfLq
— Nick Miller (@NickMiller79) August 6, 2017
Arsenal boast a stunning 17 additional players to their London counterparts and Chelsea’s expediency in dispensing with players has left them in what appears to be a perilous position. Among their defenders, they have indeed signed Rudiger from Roma but have also bid adieu to Kurt Zouma, Nathan Aké and Nathaniel Chalobah and so what had appeared a stable position for the club now looks markedly frail.
Indeed, Bakayoko looks the strongest signing of the window for Chelsea, although in selling Nemanja Matic to fellow title challengers Manchester United, the improvement to the squad as a whole is marginal.
It is against this backdrop that Chelsea have, according to the Daily Mail, stepped up interest in Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The club are said to have mounted a £25 million bid for the Englishman as Antonio Conte sets about strengthening the squad ahead of the start of the new season.
It is certainly interesting to note that Chamberlain has just one year left on his contract and so will be able to leave the club on a free come the end of the season. Thus the temptation exists for Arsenal to sell the player for a sizable fee this year rather than see him depart for nothing in twelve months time.
In addition to this is the fact that the 23-year-old has seen game time in the wing back position, which makes him a perfect fit for Conte’s charges, who employed a back three liberally last season.
Chelsea clearly need to make swift progress to embolden their squad ahead of the new season, and Chamberlain appears to be a good place to start.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena
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