Chelsea sent Manchester City transfer reminder as Pep Guardiola exposes Jorginho problem

Manchester City and Liverpool have taken little time to strengthen already formidable squads. In the space of two days, City announced the arrival of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and then on Tuesday evening Liverpool confirmed the transfer of Darwin Nunez from Benfica.

Both are statements of intent with an aim to elevate already productive attacks. The 19-point gap to last season’s Premier League champions Manchester City is already stark enough for Todd Boehly to close in the coming years, even before factoring in these major moves.

And it appears that Pep Guardiola is not finished yet, with links to Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips over an imminent bid set to test the West Yorkshire club’s resolve.

If you gaze back to the summer of 2018 and the struggle for Jorginho’s signature came down to Chelsea and City, with Guardiola known to be an admirer of the Italian midfielder, citing him as the natural successor to Fernandinho, fitting into the controlled possession and positional play Guardiola was quickly building at The Etihad. Jorginho ended up becoming a Chelsea player, mainly because of the appointment of Maurizio Sarri, the coach who focused his system around him in Naples.

City then reacted, acquiring Rodri from Atletico Madrid a year later, a player who has steadily become integral to Guardiola’s midfield, a regular in two Premier League title-winning squads. The idea of City looking to strengthen the base of their midfield again contrasts sharply with the Blues, who have been accused of inaction in the same area since 2018.

The 2021 loan of Saul Niguez went disastrously wrong with the player failing to adapt to life in the Premier League, eventually fading into the background as a fringe figure in a squad that Thomas Tuchel liberally rotated. Missing out on target Aurelien Tchouameni compounded that inaction, with Tuchel struggling to balance a problematic area across a taxing 63-game haul in the 2021/22 season.

Chelsea’s messy record with transfers means that the 2022 summer window is fraught with danger and also uncertainty over where the club goes next. The fear that more money could be wasted on duds that place Chelsea further behind under new ownership is not illogical, however, it is obvious that England’s top two have no intention of slowing down.

Both Guardiola and Klopp appear intent to stick around to evolve their squads as their original ones start to fade and previously key figures depart. The job for Tuchel appears steep and there needs to be a realism around Stamford Bridge that lofty ambitions over a title challenge need to be put on hold, with the focus on better structure in recruitment taking priority.

But in the short-term, these two deals reflect how quickly Chelsea needs to move and the value in making swift decisions in key areas like central midfield. With Rodri and Phillips, Man City could have arguably strengthened their midfield twice in the market before Chelsea have seriously invested once

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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