After leading Chelsea to UEFA Champions League glory last weekend, head coach Thomas Tuchel is now drawing up plans ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign getting under way in a little over two months time.
The Blues, who defeated Manchester City 1-0 in Porto to lift the trophy for the second time in their history, have grand ambitions to challenge Pep Guardiola’s side for the Premier League title next season, after only securing a top four spot on the final day of this season.
Chelsea had aspirations to compete for English football’s top prize this term after splashing out more than £220million on new talent last summer, only for an indifferent run of results and a managerial change in the middle of the season to put pay to those hopes for another year.
However, the Blues provided more than enough evidence between the end of January and the end of the season, following Tuchel’s arrival, that they will be a force to be reckoned with next season at the top of the table.
But in a bid to make them just that little bit more stronger, Tuchel, who, along with his Chelsea players, will discover the club’s fixture list for next season’s Premier League campaign next week, has plans to bring in three new signings this summer. It is claimed that the German has aspirations to add a right-sided defender, a central-midfielder and a striker to his ranks.
Landing a new goal-getter is Tuchel’s top priority, with Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland understood to be at the very top of his wish list.
However, although signing a striker is Tuchel’s main focus, there are other positions in question with a chance of being significantly strengthened as well, with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traore and Declan Rice of West Ham United being linked with moves to Stamford Bridge.
But whilst Traore would offer a more attacking outlook to challenge Reece James for the right wing-back berth, Inter Milan ace Achraf Hakimi could be the ideal candidate to provide competition for the England international. Hakimi has enjoyed an impressive 2020/21 campaign with Inter following his move from Real Madrid last summer and is already in danger of leaving the club to help with the Italian giants’ finances.
Hakimi, closely linked with a move to Arsenal in the past, has been the subject of serious interest from French outfit Paris Saint-Germain in recent weeks, so much that the two clubs have been in talks. However, according to reports in the national media, the French club have stalled in their plan to sign the Moroccan as they are not willing to pay more than €60million for his signature.
With PSG potentially bringing an end to their aspirations of signing the former Borussia Dortmund loanee, Chelsea are looking to take advantage. According to FCInterNews.it, as cited by InsideFutbol, the Blues have ‘got in touch’ with Inter about the prospect of luring him to west London.
Chelsea are said to be eager to open negotiations to sign the right-sided defender, who Inter want €75million (£65.4m) for, and that Tuchel is a big fan of his talents.
The German, however, is not the only one.
Earlier this year, Brazilian legend Ronaldo heaped praise on Hakimi’s credentials, so much so that he admitted he has thought about how enjoyable it would have been to play alongside him.
“Achraf Hakimi is an extraordinary player,” said the Brazilian icon during an interview with Gazetta Dello Sport. “Real were wrong to let him go like that.
“It is one of Inter’s best deals of the last ten years. Every now and then I think to myself, ‘Ronnie, imagine yourself with Hakimi.’
“We would have been at an indecent speed.”
For Ronaldo, who spent five years of his rich and colourful club career playing for Inter, to be delivering a verdict like that on Hakimi speaks volumes about the wing-back’s talents.
With Tuchel a big fan of seeing his wing-backs bomb forward down either flank, Hakimi would be tailor-made for the role at Stamford Bridge. But with James currently thriving under the German, would the Blues be spending a massive amount of money on a player to not even make the starting line-up?
It is possible, but James could potentially move into the back-three and allow Hakimi to provide an even greater attacking threat from right wing-back.
This season, Hakimi scored seven goals and claimed 11 assists in all competitions, highlighting just how devastating he can be going forward.