Where Do Chelsea Need to Strengthen Over the Summer?

A successful football club, Chelsea are familiar with winning league titles but having finished sixth in 2023/24, 28 points behind champions Manchester City, they have a lot of catching up to do. It seems very unlikely the Premier League trophy will return to Stamford Bridge in 2025 but many fans are expecting some form of improvement.

To boost their chances of heading in the right direction, Chelsea will need to make the right calls this summer. The club moved early to sort out the vacant managerial spot by hiring former Leicester boss Enzo Maresca, but there is still plenty left to do. How the club performs in the summer will no doubt have an impact on the overall Premier League Odds including for Chelsea’s opening day fixture.

The Chelsea board may have other ideas but we believe they should be targeting the following areas if they want to make positive strides in the 2024/25 campaign.

Central Defence

The departure of Thiago Silva following a successful four-year stay leaves the centre of the Chelsea backline missing a huge chunk of experience. The Brazilian was showing signs of ageing during his final season but before this, he had brought so much composure and organisation to the Chelsea backline. In response to being a defender down, the Blues have fought off the competition to sign Tosin Adarabioyo from Fulham on a free transfer.

While a great pick-up given the absence of a transfer fee, we would be surprised if the 26-year-old is the man to fix the Blues’ leaky defence. Chelsea shipped in 63 league goals last season, the ninth-worst record in the English top flight. To improve this they need an experienced top-class central defender. Maresca has a lot of talented defenders at his disposal but they are noticeably youthful, with Adarabioyo the most senior of the central options despite being aged just 26.

Defensive Midfield

Part of the reason Chelsea conceded so many goals this season was not just because of the defence itself but the lack of protection it received from midfield. Chelsea had wanted Pochettino to use Enzo Fernandez and Moise Caicedo as the midfield pivot but the Argentine was not a fan of this combination. In his view, the pair, who are both 5ft10in were not big enough as a duo for such a physical division.

Pochettino did not trust Fernandez as a holding midfielder because he was not deemed destructive enough while he had concerns about Caicedo’s positional discipline. So, if Chelsea are to sell Conor Gallagher this summer, they would be wise to replace him with a more defensive-minded option. You only have to look at the likes of Declan Rice and Rodri to see how important the position is and it is not something the Blues have managed to get right yet.


During his turbulent time at Chelsea, Mauricio Pochettino had hinted on a couple of occasions that he wanted an extra option in the striking department. This is understandable given Chelsea’s poor finishing, partly during the first half of the campaign. Nicholas Jackson did grow more clinical as the season went on but he still ended up with an xG underperformance of 4.64, the fourth worst in the Premier League.

It could be that Christopher Nkunku, if he can remain fit, is the man to start banging in goals for Chelsea but he is not a traditional number nine. Such players are becoming increasingly rare but an out-and-out goalscorer could be just who the Blues needs to make the most of the chances they create. After all, this is a creative team and one that finished the 2023/24 Premier League joint fifth when looking at big chances created.

Training/Rehabilitation Methods

Chelsea Training
Chelsea Team Training Ahead of a Champions League Match (Credit: sportsphotographer.eu / bigstock)

According to sources gathered from The Athletic, many Chelsea players believed Mauricio Pochettino’s training sessions were too rigorous. One source claimed everything had to be at 100 per cent and there was a feeling inside the club that this played its part in Chelsea’s awful injury record during the 2023/24 season. Additionally, many believed that Pochettino would bring players back into action too quickly, rather than easing them back into first-team action.

Others directed blame at the physio department, which has suffered an extremely high turnover rate recently. Whether it is a staffing problem, or a training problem (or perhaps both), Chelsea desperately need to sort it out as injuries hampered them badly during the last campaign. According to stats compiled by BBC Sport, Chelsea had the second-highest number of injuries and the third-most days lost through injury. During the height of the problems, the Blues had 11 senior players unavailable due to injury, which would impact any side.