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Comment: Assessing Chelsea's Centre Back Options Ahead of Andreas Christensen's Barcelona Transfer

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It has been reported that Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen will be a Barcelona player this week after completing the first part of his medical, leaving the Blues in a potential defensive crisis next season.

The 25-year-old's current contract expires at the end of the season alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger, who could also depart.

Therefore, Chelsea will need to bring in defensive reinforcements in the summer transfer window.

This has been made ever more complicated by the fact that Roman Abramovich has put the club up for sale, but ignoring the off-the-field politics, Thomas Tuchel will be keen to boost his squad if Chelsea are to challenge on all fronts again next season whether that be through transfers or inhouse options.

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Jules Kounde

Perhaps one of the worst kept transfer targets in Chelsea's history is Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.

Although the links are yet to get as intense as previous rumours surrounding Hulk and Radamel Falcao, of which only one played for the Blues in the end, Kounde's rumours have been present since last summer.

It is clear that Tuchel is a huge fan of the French defender. and admitted that Chelsea tried to purchase him last summer.

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In September, the Chelsea boss provided a statement suggesting the club simply didn't have enough time to negotiate with Kounde before the season began.

"It was clear we tried for Kounde and Saul and it was very, very late but it was a very, very smooth transfer window because I had full concentration on training and on my team."

The 23-year-old remains Chelsea's 'first goal' in the summer, according to reports and it looks increasingly likely that he will be brought in, probably as Azpilicueta's replacement on the right of the back three.

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The Sevilla man likes to dribble out from the back and is more cautious in his defensive approach, not diving into challenges - a trait that Tuchel is extremely fond of in his backline.

This deal is expected to happen in the summer and it would be surprising to see Chelsea miss out on Kounde.

However, with the uncertainty of ownership looming over the club and details regarding finances unclear, Chelsea may have to look internally for options.


Levi Colwill

One of Chelsea's brightest young stars, Levi Colwill, has spent a fantastic season on loan at Hudderdsfield Town. 

As well as an impressive personal season for Colwill, his team have defied expectations and are competing for the Championship play-off places, as well as having had a run to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The fantastic performances saw Leicester City linked with a move for the youngster in January, showing just how highly rated he is.

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The Blues could keep Colwill at the club next season as it was reported he was expected to have two spells away from the club on loan before fighting for a first team place.

The 19-year-old will be handed his opportunity in pre-season as Tuchel could face a defensive shortage, much like the chance handed to Trevoh Chalobah, who earned his place.

Colwill, like Kounde, likes to dribble out from the back and play short passes, traits that Tuchel adores in his defender.

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Furthermore, Colwill provides something that only Malang Sarr can offer at the back for Chelsea - a left foot.

The defender operates on the left of a back three for Huddersfield and could compliment any potential additions to Tuchel's squad next season.

It would be difficult to displace Rudiger, if the German stays at the club but we have seen in recent weeks that Tuchel has often shifted the 28-year-old to the right hand-side of the defence to accomodate for Sarr's left-footed preference, something we could see more of if Colwill remains next season.


Ethan Ampadu

Finally, perhaps a loanee that has gone under the radar this season, is Ethan Ampadu.

The defender has played 24 matches for Venezia on loan in the Serie A this season, gaining valuable experience.

With Christensen's pending departure to Barcelona, Ampadu is the most natural of the loanees to return and take his place.

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The Danish international impressed for Chelsea in the middle of Tuchel's back three, a position where Colwill is unlikely to shine.

Christensen had his weaknesses before Tuchel's arrival at Stamford Bridge, and many of them are similar to criticism Ampadu faced in the past.

During Ampadu's time at Sheffield United he was criticised for his strength, the main criticism from Chelsea fans, and sometimes Frank Lampard, of Christensen before Tuchel took over.

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If the German managed to iron these out of Christensen's game, who is to say he cannot do the same to a much younger Ampadu?

The Welsh international has already been capped 31 times by his country and is just 21 years of age. 

His versatility has been an admirable quality for Ampadu also as he can play anywhere along the back three and in midfield, but next season could be his time to cement his place in Tuchel's squad.

If handed the opportunity in pre-season, he could impress and stick around to learn from one of the best to ever play in his position, Thiago Silva. 


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