Thomas Tuchel wants to spend more to strengthen ageing Chelsea squad

·6-min read
Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea, reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Chelsea FC at Goodison Park on August 06, 2022 in Liverpool, England - Getty Images Europe
Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea, reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Chelsea FC at Goodison Park on August 06, 2022 in Liverpool, England - Getty Images Europe

Thomas Tuchel is looking to spend again despite Chelsea splashing more cash than any other Premier League club this summer.

He was hugely relieved to take three points at Goodison Park where Chelsea had lost on their last four visits but is well aware a team that he admits is in "transition" needs to continue to lower their age profile and make improvements if they are to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.

With Cesar Azpilicueta 33 later this month and Thiago Silva 38 in September, Tuchel is looking for a young, pacy central defender to be groomed alongside new boy Kalidou Koulibaly, who is no spring chicken himself at 31. In midfield Jorginho - who scored the penalty winner - and N'golo Kante are both in their thirties.

There is also a concern about fire power despite the arrival of Raheem Sterling. The former Manchester City player will get his fair share of goals but has never been the most clinical of strikers while Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic are hardly prolific and youngster Armando Broja still raw.

Liverpool have bought Darwin Nunez to partner Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota; City have signed Erling Haaland; Arsenal have added Gabriel Jesus while Tottenham have Harry Kane and Son Heung-min all players who will virtually guarantee goals. The suspicion is that Chelsea - following the departure of Romalu Lukaku - still lack a 20-plus goals a season striker.

While their back three coped fairly comfortably with an Everton attack that had no recognised striker, Tuchel acknowledged he needs to add some pace and younger legs for the long-term, especially after the departures of the jet-heeled Anthony Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

'We need to make sure we have a new generation to take over'

"We have a lot of experience but it is also a lot of age," said Tuchel. "They have their quality and they know what they are doing. We also need to make sure we have a new generation to take over in the next years but the guys are strong that is why they are under contract and the guys have our trust.

"There needs to be some balance [between experience and youth]. I think it is necessary. The game in general is very physical and demands a lot. This is the situation. We knew it before. Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] is the legend that he is, Thiago is in the moment still very important to us and when we had the chance to sign Khalidou we did it because we believe that he has some years ahead of him.

Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Chelsea FC at Goodison Park on August 06, 2022 in Liverpool, England - Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Chelsea FC at Goodison Park on August 06, 2022 in Liverpool, England - Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

"But in general it is the fact that like the goalkeeper [Edouard Mendy] they are in their thirties and that is just what it is.

"Rudiger was fast and he reached the top speed in the last two seasons. Pace is an issue and speed is an issue. In all signings this is the demand of the game that you can play one-on-ones, that you can defend space if needed with high speed runs."

Chelsea made hard work of beating an Everton team who were playing without a recognised striker with Dominic Calvert-Lewin injured, Salomon Rondon suspended and Richarlison sold to Spurs and suffered the setback of losing defender Ben Godfrey with a broken leg after only 10 minutes.

Sterling had a debut 'goal' chalked off for offside and another close range effort deflected wide by Vitaliy Mykolenko and skipper Azpilicueta admitted scoring enough goals remains a problem - they scored 23 and 18 fewer than City and Liverpool respectively.

“It is five seasons since the last time we won the Premier League," he said. "We need to score goals and not concede if we want to win anything. It's true that maybe at the top it is obvious for the last few years we were a bit far. We didn't score enough and with a half chance we concede. So that’s our problem, and that’s why we finished third 20 or more points behind Manchester City.”

In the end Jorginho's penalty was just enough for Chelsea. Jordan Pickford had saved his effort in the shoot-out to settle the Euro 2020 final but this time the Italian international kept his nerve after Abdoulaye Doucoure had marred an otherwise excellent display by bundling over Ben Chilwell in the ninth minute of first half added time.

Lampard: 'The penalty was really the only difference'

Frank Lampard was happy with Everton's general performance but knows they must find a striker urgently if they are to avoid another battle against the drop. And he could step up his pursuit of Connor Coady, with Ben Godfrey ruled out for three months after his desperate recovery tackle on Kai Havertz and injury-prone Yerry Mina facing yet another spell out with an ankle problem.

"We had three or four chances in good positions and we've got to do better," said Lampard. "If we had taken one of those we would have come away with a draw and might have won it but we don't have that clinical No 9 with that killer instinct in the box who will take those chances.

“We have to find a way at the minute and of course we are looking at it recruitment-wise. We want to have a couple more options and we are all working in that direction. But I thought the performance was good against a top team. The penalty was really the only difference.”

Lampard has beaten West Ham to the £33m signing of highly-rated Lille midfielder Amadou Onana and is closing in on a deal to bring Idrissa Gueye back from Paris St Germain. Onana, 20, watched Saturday's game from the directors' box and was due to complete his move on Sunday.

"He is a fantastically talented young player with great attributes," added Lampard. "I'm not sure how much people in this country will have seen him but we have followed him for a long time. He has great energy and quality on the ball - he is a really good all-round midfield player."

Everton fans will pray Onana also has an eye for goal too such is their current predicament.