Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel should follow the lead of his predecessor Frank Lampard to solve Chelsea’s defensive conundrum after their failure to strike a deal for Jules Kounde
Thomas Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge in unique circumstances.
Emotions were still raw, with Chelsea fans frustrated at the dismissal of club legend Frank Lampard – leaving Tuchel with a mammoth act to follow in the wake of his popular predecessor.
Over time though, Tuchel has won doubters round. He’s looked a cut above Lampard during his short tenure in charge and has slowly banished the previous Blues boss to the back of fans’ minds.
But, after building on Lampard’s work during his time in charge, the collapse of Jules Kounde’s switch to Stamford Bridge leaves Tuchel with the opportunity to follow his predecessor’s lead.
Lampard thrived after being given the job with a remit to nurture their fledgling young stars in the wake of the Blues being slapped with a transfer ban.
It’s something that Tuchel was hired to build upon after Lampard was dismissed back in January.
The heart of defence has been an area of focus all summer for the Blues as they chased a £68m deal for Kounde.
However, the emergence of Trevoh Chalobah over the past few months has given the Stamford Bridge hierarchy food for thought – and he should now get the opportunity to step up after the Blues walked away from a deal for the Sevilla defender.
There’s no doubt defence is an area that needs strengthening after the summer departures of Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma.
Stalwart Thiago Silva returned for the dramatic 1-1 draw with Liverpool, but at 36, the Brazilian’s glittering career is winding down.
Aged just 22, Kounde had been earmarked as the man to marshall the Blues backline for years to come – but Chalobah, also 22, is someone else who fits that mould.
The Blues academy graduate has already given a glimpse of his capabilities by stealing the show in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Is Trevoh Chalobah ready to step up for Chelsea? Comment below
He capped a solid defensive performance on the right-hand side of the back three by striding forward and lashing home his first-ever senior goal to add a touch of polish to the afternoon for Tuchel’s men.
There’ll definitely be tougher tests to come than Palace, but he also looked at home in the same slot during Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup triumph over Villarreal.
Even at his young age, Chalobah looks primed to become the next star to flourish in the Premier League after earning his stripes in the EFL.
He impressed during season-long stays with Ipswich Town and Huddersfield in the Championship before a stint in Ligue 1 with Lorient last year.
First team regulars Reece James and Mason Mount blazed a similar trail prior to their evolution to fully-fledged Chelsea stars under Lampard – in what was, at the time, a much more challenging environment than the one the Blues are in now.
Tuchel has already spoken out on the importance of continuing to blood homegrown stars to continue the work that Lampard started.
“It has to be special and it always, for me, needs to stay like this”, he told Chelsea TV last month.
“Of course, we’re looking for the best in the world, for example when we buy Romelu Lukaku. Of course, we look for the best talents in the world when we buy Kai Havertz and they are fantastic players from abroad.
“We have some of the best players in the world in our squad and still there are places for guys from the academy. In the end, he plays alongside Reece James and Mason Mount, this is how it has to be.
“I love it, the spectators love it. This is how it should be that we have a good mix and they still have a place to fight their way through.
“This is what Chelsea academy stands for, for top quality. And we will never stop pushing.”
After winning the Champions League in May, Chelsea are on the up under Tuchel and look primed to challenge for honours on all fronts this year.
Even if Chalobah is still developing, this squad is more than strong enough to allow Tuchel to integrate him into the senior ranks this year – if the German boss is brave enough to commit to it.
It should be a no brainer. After all, it’s a feat that his predecessor managed to do in far more challenging circumstances.