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Five signings that could transform Pochettino’s Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino has been tasked with rebuilding Chelsea, following the club’s worst league season since the mid-nineties.

Pochettino has signed a two-year deal with the option of a further season and returns to the Premier League after successful spells at Southampton and Tottenham. The Argentine inherits a squad packed full of talent but lacking cohesion, with Chelsea’s record-breaking spend last season leading only to a 12th-placed finish.

Chelsea have began the summer with a clear-out of talent, with the club’s exodus set to include names such as N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz among others.

Chelsea require sales before additions can be made, but with several stars headed for the exit door there could be funds made available for the new head coach.

Five potential signings that could transform Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea.

Andre Onana

Chelsea are interested in signing a new goalkeeper this summer with Edouard Mendy set to depart and Kepa Arrizabalaga having failed to convince for much of his time at Stamford Bridge.

Andre Onana’s name has been regularly linked with a move to the Premier League of late and the Cameroon international is understood to be on Chelsea’s radar.

The 27-year-old impressed during a brilliant debut season at Inter Milan, in which the goalkeeper led the Champions League for clean sheets, high claims and saves as the Italian side reached the final.

Onana is a modern goalkeeper in every sense, proactive to deal with danger and comfortable in possession. He ranked in the top-bracket of goalkeepers in Europe’s top five leagues for both touches and save percentage last season, while he offers huge confidence with the ball at his feet.

Moises Caicedo

Midfield is an area that needs additions ahead of multiple exits. N’Golo Kante’s departure has been confirmed, while Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount are expected to follow and there are doubts over Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Moises Caicedo has been identified as a leading transfer target and Chelsea are viewed as frontrunners to sign the Ecuador international. Caicedo has been a revelation since breaking into the Brighton team and starred as the Seagulls secured a top-six finish and Europa League qualification last season.

The 21-year-old ranked second in the Premier League for both tackles and interceptions, while he performed impressively in comparison to his positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues, ranking in the 94th percentile for pass completion, 87th percentile for tackles and 89th for interceptions.

Given this was Caicedo’s first full season in a major European league, the numbers are impressive and the midfielder still has significant room to grow and develop. He is perhaps the closest thing to a Kante replacement and still with his best seasons ahead of him.

Lautaro Martinez

Goals were a major issue for Chelsea last season with just 38 scored from 38 league fixtures. Just three teams who avoided relegation – Wolves, Bournemouth and Everton – scored less goals than Chelsea, in what was the second-lowest scoring league campaign in the club’s history.

The experiment of using Kai Havertz as a false nine appears over with the German on the verge of signing for Arsenal and a recognised centre-forward should be a focus for Pochettino and his recruitment team. Christopher Nkunku has arrived from RB Leipzig and was the joint-leading scorer in the Bundesliga last season, but the Frenchman is not an out-and-out number nine and works best when operating off a main forward.

Chelsea are understood to have held a long-standing interest in Lautaro Martinez, who has also been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid. The 25-year-old has scored 79 goals in 173 league games for Inter, including hauls of 21 in each of the last two Serie A campaigns.

Martinez is contracted at the San Siro until 2026 and Inter are under no pressure to sell, but a big bid – potentially including Romelu Lukaku in part-exchange – could prove persuasive.

The Argentina international appears an ideal fit for Pochettino’s high-intensity game-plan, offering remarkable defensive numbers in comparison to forwards in Europe’s top-five leagues. Martinez ranked in the 98th percentile for interceptions, 94th for blocks and 85th for tackles last season, while boasting impressive percentile rankings for non-penalty goals (90), shots (94) and assists (90) per 90 minutes. It is the sort of all-action numbers that have made Martinez in high demand.

Romeo Lavia

Chelsea’s recent recruitment has been focused on emerging talent and links to Romeo Lavia should come as little surprise given the midfielder’s breakthrough campaign at Southampton.

Signed from Manchester City last summer having seen his route to first-team football blocked at the Etihad, Lavia impressed despite a season of struggle for Southampton that ended in relegation.

The teenager was press-resistant and elegant in possession, able to side-step opposition challenges at the base of the midfield and move Southampton onto the front foot with progressive passes.

Chelsea made an offer to sign Lavia just weeks after his arrival at St Mary’s last summer, where he became an instant hit with his composure, ability to read the game and work-rate off the ball.

Chelsea appointed Joe Shields as Co-Director of Recruitment and Talent in October, the man behind Lavia’s move to Southampton during his time as Head of Senior Recruitment at the Saints. Another effort to sign the Belgian would come as little surprise, with Lavia’s combination of promise and poise one that has alerted England’s elite.

Marcus Thuram

Marcus Thuram is one of the most in-demand free agents of the summer transfer window and could prove a perfect cut-price addition to Chelsea’s ranks as the west Londoners look to meet Financial Fair Play regulations.

Thuram is available on a free transfer after deciding against renewing his contract at Borussia Monchengladbach, where the French forward produced the best season of his career in 2022/23. Thuram scored 16 goals in all competitions for the Bundesliga side and led Germany’s top division for non-penalty goals (13), xG (16.5) and shots (44).

The 25-year-old has settled through the centre but can operate in a wide role if required and has the pace and running power to stretch defences and provide a real threat in the Premier League.

Thuram ranked in the elite percentile across Europe’s top five leagues on several metrics last season, with the France international in the 92nd percentile for non-penalty xG and scoring highly for assists (87), progressive carries (88), touches in the opposition penalty area (88) and successful take-ons (87).

Chelsea will need to move quickly to secure the forward however, with AC Milan, RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain pushing for a deal.

Read – Ranking the five best attacking midfielders in world football right now

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