Chelsea’s dream for the rest of the season includes Nkunku’s return and Osimhen’s signing
Despite Chelsea being at home, Mauricio Pochettino would have probably taken the draw with Manchester City on Sunday before a ball was kicked. The Blues took on the champions, who coming into the game had won five on the bounce, but went toe-to-toe in what turned out to be an all-time Premier League classic.
That game in isolation is probably not what Pochettino wants his side to be about. While he likes his team to press from the front, the ferocious efforts of his players led to a truly frantic and chaotic match. But against City, it seemed to work.
After the game, Pochettino admitted he was exhausted after what was a crazy six days for him and his Chelsea squad. After beating Tottenham in a bizarre match in north London, the Blues then played that eight-goal stalemate with Man City at Stamford Bridge.
Pochettino needs the break more than any of his players, it seems. While the majority of the Chelsea squad jet off around the world to represent their respective countries, Pochettino will work with a small group not to go on international duty back at Cobham.
As well as the players being able to physically recover, they will be able to do the same mentally before they return to action later in the month away at Newcastle United. While everyone else has the time off from Premier League football as well, it makes sense to take a look at what would be the ‘dream’ scenario for Chelsea for the remainder of the campaign.
Nkunku makes starring return
Christopher Nkunku is expected to make his long awaited return for Chelsea following the international break. The 24-year-old is yet to make his competitive debut for the Blues following his £52million summer transfer from RB Leipzig.
Nkunku is now close to returning to action following the knee injury he suffered back in Chicago while Chelsea were doing their pre-season tour of the United States over the summer. Pochettino spoke a lot, particularly when his team were not scoring loads of goals, about the injury to Nkunku and how it set them back this season.
A player of the France international’s quality returning to action should prove to be a boost to any team. Chelsea will not expect Nkunku to be in prime condition as soon as he returns but because of the form of Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer in recent matches, it eases the burden on him somewhat.
Victor Osimhen is one of several strikers being looked at by Chelsea ahead of the January transfer window, football.london understands. The Nigerian striker is one of the hottest properties in European football at the minute and a queue of clubs are expected to fight for his signature either in January or next summer.
Chelsea do indeed hold an interest in Osimhen, but sources have told football.london that a move in January is unlikely at this stage. However, you certainly would not bet against Chelsea once again smashing their transfer record to sign Osimhen from Napoli.
Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali are very unpredictable when it comes to transfer business. At one stage in the 2023 January window, it looked as if a move for Enzo Fernandez was dead but they reignited their interest right at the last minute and blew Benfica out of the water with a £105million bid.
Close gap on top four
Chelsea have made some progress under Pochettino. While they are technically worse off in terms of points than at this point last season, it is clear that this young Blues squad are making progress with their performances on the pitch.
In recent matches, they have been more decisive and clinical in front of goal and a brand of football is obvious to see – even to the casual viewer. Right now Chelsea sit in mid-table, in 10th place, 10 points behind Tottenham in fourth.
It is unrealistic to think Chelsea will finish in the top four this season; it is too early on in the process. But for the remainder of the campaign, Pochettino will be hoping while his side continue to make progress, they can close the gap to those above them and perhaps land a spot in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League for the 2024/25 season.