Chelsea have finally started to replenish their backline following the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. The addition of Kalidou Koulibaly on a four-year deal for £33.8 million is certainly a significant step for Thomas Tuchel’s rebuild.
The replenishment of Chelsea’s defence may not end there, with as many as three centre backs tipped to arrive at Stamford Bridge by the end of August. The likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Nathan Ake have been on the Blues’ shortlist but seem unlikely to arrive in west London, but Presnel Kimpembe and Jules Kounde could still be on the cards.
The former has already worked with Tuchel during the German coach’s time at Stamford Bridge, and has acknowledged this is a pivotal summer in his career. The French side’s boss, Christophe Galtier has even admitted that he does not know what will happen next for the 27-year-old, who CIES value at £34 million.
The PSG defender could be interested in linking back up with Tuchel, despite his pride in coming from the club’s youth set-up. It appears that having local players develop, and reach the top, is important to Kimpembe.
Earlier this season he said: “For me, it means a lot to be able to have PSG youth products on the pitch, it shows that there is soul in this club. Colin (Dagba) showed what he was capable of, I am very proud of him. Collectively we did the job, but I would like to congratulate him because he was hyper-focused.”
If the star were to join the Blues, it appears his ethos would be in keeping with Chelsea’s philosophy. Even under new ownership, Todd Boehly has committed to investing in the academy and the likes of Mason Mount, Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi are the current flag-bearers for Cobham’s success.
On Chelsea’s current pre-season tour, Tuchel spoke about the importance of protecting a pathway. He said: “You always need to find the balance between protecting the path for the guys from the academy and for being able to win. It also doesn’t help a young player just to rely on him, and he can’t deliver in the first weeks the level that we expect from him, and the fans expect. That would help nobody.
“Trevoh came here as a loan player, and I didn’t know him very well, but he stepped up after five or six weeks of pre-season and was reliable. It’s in the players’ hands – I will never judge somebody because of age or because he is from the academy or from a fantastic club in Europe. That does not matter.
“They are responsible for their career, and of course, if we can sign somebody that guarantees a higher quality at the moment, this is the way that young guys learn from these signings. Or if we think it’s better to be on loan, then this is the way.”