After laying their hands on the UEFA Champions League for the first time in nine years last weekend, there is no shortage of optimism and excitement connected with Chelsea ahead of next season.
The Blues, who will discover their fixture list for the 2021/22 Premier League campaign later this month, secured their second Champions League crown in their history thanks to a 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto.
Germany international Kai Havertz netted the only goal of the game when he latched onto Mason Mount’s excellent pass, poked the ball beyond the outrushing Ederson in the City goal and then into the back of an empty net.
That was enough to seal a historic win for the Blues and head coach Thomas Tuchel, as he ensured his first few months as Blues boss ended in nothing but unbridled joy.
But although Chelsea will enter next season as European champions, you can be assured that Tuchel will not rest there. The German, who committed his future to the club yesterday by extending his stay in west London by a further two years, has aspirations to take the Blues back to the top of English football and compete for the Premier League title.
But if the club is to take that next step, Tuchel is convinced that he needs to add three new players to his ranks this summer. According to a report by the Telegraph, drafting in three new faces is exactly what he needs.
The positions that he sees in need of strengthening are the right side of the defence, in the centre of midfield and up front, with landing a new striker set to the Blues’ top priority. Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane are amongst those to have been linked with moves to Stamford Bridge.
But as well as looking to land a striker this summer, Tuchel, according to the report, has also revived the Blues’ interest in West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice. The England international was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last summer and up until Frank Lampard’s exit in January.
However, the Blues now seem set to rekindle their interest in the West Ham man and could launch a fresh move for him this summer in an attempt to bolster Tuchel’s midfield options.
Should Chelsea be successful in their efforts to land Rice this summer, although a deal would almost certainly cost anywhere between £60million to £80m, it would receive the seal of approval from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich chief, who will be hoping to find a way to get the better of Tuchel next season after three successive defeats against the German, hailed Rice’s talents back in 2018, insisting he would become a “top player”.
Guardiola said: “Declan Rice is an excellent young player and he will be a top English player for many years to come.”
With Guardiola, who is one of the best managers in world football, issuing a verdict like that on Rice three years ago, it is clear that the England star has potential.
The midfielder has grown considerably in the last three seasons and is destined to become a key figure for England at Euro 2020.
Signing a striker, of course, is Tuchel’s top priority this summer, but if there is enough money left in the kitty after landing a new goal-getter, the former Paris Saint-Germain boss may test the Hammers’ resolve by launching a bid for Rice.
This season, Rice, who is 22, made 35 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, scoring two goals, helping the London outfit qualify for the UEFA Europa League.