Chelsea have one of the deepest squads in Europe but neither Thomas Tuchel, nor Graham Potter have got the best out of them in the 2022-23 season.
The Blues have been very unlucky with injuries, as wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell missed a run of games for the second year running.
N’Golo Kante suffered a serious hamstring injury which has limited him to just two Premier League appearances, while Armando Broja will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured ACL.
MORE: Who is Piero Hincapie? Ecuador’s World Cup star wanted by Chelsea
It seems a lifetime ago that Chelsea lifted the Champions League trophy, with a lot of those players either having left or out of form and Tuchel losing his job in September.
Reinforcements are on the agenda in new owner Todd Boehly’s first January transfer window, but who should they bring in?
Chelsea seemed set in between the sticks a year ago, with Edouard Mendy in fine form and Kepa Arrizabalaga a more than capable backup.
But Mendy’s performances dipped last season and he has continued to struggle in this campaign.
The Senegal international still makes plenty of top saves, but also too many costly mistakes.
Has there been a better save this season? 🧐
Kepa’s brilliance has won the PL Save of the Month for October. pic.twitter.com/YcqLMedDEp
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 11, 2022
Kepa has been the number one under Potter and done really well in fairness, but there remain doubts over his ability.
Chelsea are likely to play the Spaniard for the rest of the season while deciding whether or not signing a new first-choice keeper is necessary.
Brighton’s Robert Sanchez has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, having previously worked under Potter.
Chelsea wisely strengthened the left wing-back position in the summer window, adding Marc Cucurella for £60 million.
He hasn’t played particularly well, but at least he’s offered another option in Ben Chilwell’s absence.
On the right, however, the injury-prone Reece James’ importance to the team cannot be understated.
Cesar Azpilicueta is the only other right-sided defender and, at his age, he should not be playing anywhere other than in the back three.
The Blues could do with a Cucurella-like player on that side.
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol and Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie have been heavily linked.
If you’re a coach, you tell Gvardiol that he did very well. Stood his ground, didn’t put his foot in, forced him outside, made sure not to foul. Everything you’re taught to do.
But then, in a few seconds, Lionel Messi destroys your entire belief systempic.twitter.com/u8eO1PNGhJ
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) December 14, 2022
This suggests that Potter is keen on a left-sided central defender, with none currently in the squad.
Central midfield has been a problem for Chelsea this term, with club legend N’Golo Kante’s fitness becoming even more of a concern.
The Frenchman may still be capable of a world-class performance, but he’s playing less and less, and sitting on the sidelines more and more.
The 31-year-old can no longer be relied upon and signing him to a new long-term contract would be nothing short of a disaster.
If Barcelona are seriously interested, Chelsea should sell Kante in January.
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) December 11, 2022
A replacement is needed, and although unlikely in January, that would definitely be the ideal scenario for the club.
Declan Rice makes an awful lot of sense. The club have tracked him for a while now and Blues fans would love to see him line up next to best friend Mason Mount.
Rice is untested at Champions League level, but his performances for England at the World Cup will have gone a long way to prove that he is ready to play for Chelsea.
The Blues’ two centre-forward options, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Armando Broja, are at opposite ends of their careers. One is in decline, while the other is not ready to lead the line at a club like Chelsea.
So the west London club’s biggest issue is a lack of an out-and-out goalscorer.
Todd Boehly would pay hundreds of millions to have the Didier Drogba, or even Diego Costa, of old.
Instead, all he can do is look for the next to add to a relatively short list of successful Chelsea strikers.
Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Youssoufa Moukoko has been linked, but he is unlikely to hit the ground running at 18 years of age.
Moukoko deal. BVB have still chances to extend his contract, player has great relationship with Terzić & club — but timing is crucial, they’ve to act within December with good proposal 🚨🟡⚫️ #BVB
English & Spanish clubs ready to push in January if new deal won’t be agreed now. pic.twitter.com/OhIIwKnGuS
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 13, 2022
Rafael Leao is an excellent alternative, but AC Milan would be reluctant to sell midway through the season.
They have signed young Ivorian Datro Fofana from Molde, the Norwegian club that made Erling Haaland, but he will be sent on loan until next summer.
Elsewhere, Mount, Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz can be expected to stay.
Whereas, two of the World Cup’s stars Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic could be on their way out of west London.
Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku has been signed for next summer, and the pair already struggle for regular first-team minutes.