Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has acknowledged that the dearth of available midfielders is giving him a difficulty. Due to recent injury issues, the Blues’ pursuit of Barcelona playmaker Frenkie de Jong may now take precedence over other transfer priorities.
While Mateo Kovacic is now rehabilitating from a knee injury and not yet totally match-ready, N’Golo Kante is currently out for a few weeks. Conor Gallagher, a recent graduate of the academy, had an opportunity to shine in their absence, but he failed and was dismissed against Leicester City over the weekend for two bookable offences.
Tuchel is baffled as to who he can start in the middle of the park against Southampton due to his suspension and injuries. When questioned if his midfield has become a “headache” for him, the former Borussia Dortmund player gave the impression that he would welcome the entrance of a new midfielder.
It is, and typically that’s the part when I would love to have a headache about who starts and who sits out. In a normal scenario, I would have predicted that we would have five guys who could all contribute to the team, with Carney Chukwuemeka as the best young player option.
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When it comes to the fifth game, there may only be two players left with this position’s experience, along with Kova sitting on the bench, which was a concern before the season began. He just had a week to recover from his injuries before playing complete matches at Premier League level.
It’s an odd circumstance, and we don’t like it. Actually, I have no idea why we are in this circumstance. It’s like this, and we will have to consider [the team selection]; nevertheless, it may not be necessary because it is so clear who we have left.
Tuchel’s remarks may prompt Chelsea’s higher-ups to pursue De Jong more aggressively. De Jong is presently in London after Barcelona gave him a few days off following their recent La Liga success.
The former Ajax midfielder has been the focus of a season-long transfer drama because Manchester United wants to use him to address their midfield issues.
Despite having an agreement with Barca, who are relatively cash-strapped and open to selling the midfielder, and the fact that they are not opposed to selling the player, the Red Devils have been unable to persuade the 25-year-old to join them.
If Chelsea decides to make an offer for De Jong, they will be hoping for better luck in the discussions, and it may also lessen the strain on them in the summer of 2023 when Jorginho and Kante are expected to become free agents.