Trevor Steven: Who Chelsea should buy to go from Premier League champions to challenging on all fronts

 
Trevor Steven
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Real Sporting de Gijon v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Real Madrid's Morata might suit Chelsea better than Lukaku (Source: Getty)

Chelsea have left all other clubs trailing on their way to the Premier League title and, while Antonio Conte has used his squad very well, he has also capitalised fully on the absence of European football.

A lack of Champions League or Europa League commitments left the Blues with fewer games than their domestic rivals, meaning they benefited from additional rest, fewer injuries and a more settled team.

Conte will need to review his squad in the coming weeks, however. He won’t want to lose many from a title-winning side but a few signings will be needed if they are to challenge on both fronts next season.

Read more: Chelsea set for most lucrative Premier League title in history

John Terry is one almost certain departure, with the long-serving captain set to leave or retire.

Chelsea have young players such as Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake able to step in, but I think they will want to replace Terry with the highest quality available.

Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk has been mentioned as a possible target and I think he would fit the bill.

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Van Dijk is a possible replacement for John Terry (Source: Getty)

He is the right age and has good experience, and is also, for me, a better footballer than current Blues centre-back Gary Cahill.

Wing-backs

Conte’s favoured 3-4-3 system places a lot of emphasis on the wide players, Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses.

They have been virtual ever-presents this term but, with more games to get through next year, Chelsea are likely to need more options at wing-back.

The squad is already very strong, so I think Conte will only be looking for players who can come straight in and expect to challenge for a first-team place.

The Monaco market

With that in mind, I’d expect them to look at Monaco, whose talented young Ligue 1-winning team have been one of the stories of the campaign.

Monaco have typically struggled to keep their best players, and stars such as Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy will be on the radars of not just Chelsea but also Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Those players have Champions League experience from their run to the semi-finals and Conte could do worse than handpick two or three.

A new striker or two

Chelsea’s main area of investment is likely to be in attack, where Diego Costa’s future remains uncertain.

I’d still be surprised if Costa went – it’s hard to leave a winning team, as nearly all of Leicester’s stars showed last summer – but if he does, then they have to replace him with top quality.

The two names repeatedly linked are Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata. As good as Lukaku is, I’m not sure his link-up play is as good as Costa’s, so Real Madrid’s Morata would be a better option.

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League
Everton's Lukaku has been linked with a return to Chelsea (Source: Getty)

Where I could see Lukaku returning to Stamford Bridge is as competition for Costa, should he stay, or Morata.

Blues back-up striker Michy Batshuayi has scored some important goals but doesn’t have the quality to be first choice.

He can’t be happy about that, but a move to Everton in part-exchange for Lukaku could suit everyone.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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