Maresca must decide on centre backs

It’s already been all change this summer at Stamford Bridge, with manager Mauricio Pochettino departing and then being replaced by then Leicester City head coach Enzo Maresca. And it’s been straight to work for the Italian, with the club already pressing ahead in the transfer market. However, there’s one department he must make decisions on as a priority.

Thiago Silva’s time at Chelsea is up, with the thirty-nine-year-old heading back to Brazil to finish off his career. It means that Maresca is already a man down at centre-back and a whole lot of experience down, too. Chelsea conceded sixty-three goals in the Premier League last season, which is far too much, and this makes addressing the centre-back department even more crucial.

If Chelsea were to tighten up at the back and become more resolute, combine this with their ability to affect things positively in the final third and score goals, and you’d undoubtedly see bookies changing their football betting odds dramatically shift in their favour, even where pushing for a top-four finish is concerned. And before it becomes a case of just recruiting new centre-backs, it’s the ones already owned by Chelsea who Maresca will have to run the rule over.

Wesley Fofana, who is expected to be ready to begin training in pre-season, has had a torrid time since signing for Chelsea from Leicester City, with the twenty-three-year-old crippled by multiple serious injuries. Malang Sarr has almost become the forgotten man but remains a centre-back on Chelsea’s books. There have been suggestions previously that the likes of Benoit Badiashile and Trevoh Chalobah were free to leave the club, too.

The futures of those mentioned above will have to be decided quickly to give Chelsea time to replace any who are deemed surplus to requirements. The club managed to snatch Tosin Adarabioyo from under Newcastle’s nose at the very last minute to ensure they do have a new centre-back in place ahead of next season. But you could also argue that they’ve lost a centre-back in Silva, and Adarabioyo is his replacement as things stand.

The likelihood is that Chelsea and Maresca will have Adarabioyo, Axel Disasi and Levi Colwill as centre-backs on their books next term, as well as Alfie Gilchrist, with the twenty-year-old highly rated behind the scenes. From there, it will depend on whether there are further departures from that particular department and, if so, how many. And probably more crucially, how much money they can generate in the way of funds.

The latest news suggests the priority positions for Chelsea in terms of their recruitment are at the opposite end of the pitch, which ultimately means if they are to bring in a new centre back in addition to Adarabioyo’s arrival, they will have to hope any exit provides the cash required to make it happen. Chalobah has already been linked with a switch to Fulham as Adarabioyo’s replacement, and you’d expect him to command a decent fee as he’s still only twenty-four.

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