Graham Potter’s issues in the middle of the park has been one of the biggest he’s been tasked with since succeeding Thomas Tuchel in September. Without N’Golo Kante due to injury and Mateo Kovacic struggling for fitness, the Blues have lacked depth in the position.
The Blues do possess Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in their ranks while Denis Zakaria is still yet to be handed his debut since his late summer loan move from Juventus. However, away from the four mentioned, the position is one that is desperate to be addressed in the January transfer window.
It’s a well-known fact that the current crop of players at Cobham are unable to defend on their own due to the neglect of the defensive midfield position throughout the years. Since taking over, Potter has realised what previous managers have had to suffer with and the 47-year-old is keen to end the common theme.
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is expected to delve into the market over the next six months to provide Potter with the tools to overhaul his midfield. The method was used in the summer under Tuchel for the defence with Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly all arriving and has reaped the awards with only 11 league conceded.
Ajax’s Edson Alvarez and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham have both been identified as possible incomings, but one long-term target that is likely to be revisited is West Ham captain Declan Rice. The former Cobham academy player has been on the club’s shortlist since 2020 under Frank Lampard but has remained loyal to the Hammers.
Previous reports this month from CBS reporter Ben Jacobs have claimed that “there’s a very real chance” that a deal for Rice to return to the club could happen. And former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has instructed his old employers to go all out to sign him.
“Kante is out for about 4 months and while Jorginho is a great player he is not defensively minded,” he told FairBettingSites. “Kovacic is a good player, and he does his job well, but he needs a partner.
“Declan Rice is the one for me. It would be very, very interesting if Kante left, I would love to see them go and get Rice from West Ham. I get goosebumps thinking of Mason Mount and Declan Rice playing together at Chelsea because they are academy graduates and that’s what fans want to see.
“The biggest figure in Chelsea’s recent history is John Terry, who OK started at West Ham but he’s Chelsea through and through and came through the academy like Mason Mount. Declan Rice belongs to Chelsea, like Conor Gallagher.”