Chelsea may have fallen into Liverpool transfer trap with title hopes reliant on luck

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Blues player ratings

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Chelsea failed in their attempt to land Jules Kounde from Sevilla before the transfer window slammed shut on Tuesday night, with the Blues apparently unwilling to stump up the player’s £68million release clause.

A deal to take the defender to Stamford Bridge had looked likely this summer, with Chelsea chasing the player throughout the transfer window.

But Sevilla refused to budge on their price and rebuffed the Blues’ approaches as the player stayed in Spain.

Chelsea tabled a bid last week, but it wasn’t enough to turn Sevilla’s heads.

“We weren’t satisfied with the offer and it was linked to Chelsea selling a player,” Sevilla sporting director Monchi said.

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“It was a decent fee but it didn’t meet our criteria.”

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In the final days of the transfer window, Chelsea sanctioned a move for Kurt Zouma to join West Ham.

The France centre-back had slipped down the pecking order under boss Thomas Tuchel and was deemed surplus to requirements.

And, according to former England manager Sam Allardyce, Chelsea have now left themselves exposed at the back.

“When you’ve let Zouma [leave] and not replaced him, that’s why they wanted to sign Kounde,” Allardyce told Sky Sports News on Wednesday morning.

“[Tuchel’s] basis of success was on defensive quality that Frank [Lampard] couldn’t find.

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“They probably had the best defensive record bar Man City since his tenure. Defensively, if they suffer a few injuries, how will they cover in the defensive area?”

Since taking over at Chelsea, Tuchel has favoured a three-man defence, with wing-backs either side.

Tuchel began the season against Crystal Palace with Antonio Rudiger, Trevoh Chalobah and Andreas Christensen at the heart of his defence.

Cesar Azpilicueta has been preferred to Chalobah in Chelsea’s last two games, while Thiago Silva came off the bench against Liverpool last time out following Reece James’ sending off.

Tuchel appears to have plenty of options at the back but his side will soon embark on the defence of their Champions League title, meaning they will be playing two games a week throughout much of the season.

At 36-years-old, Silva will not be able to play two games a week, while 32-year-old Azpilicueta’s game time may also need to be monitored.

If one or two of Chelsea’s younger centre-backs were to pick up significant injuries during the campaign, Tuchel could find himself desperately needing to fill holes and plug gaps.

That is exactly what happened to Liverpool last season after Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffered season-ending injuries in the autumn.

Joel Matip then saw his season come to a premature end after sustaining an ankle injury at the end of January.

Jurgen Klopp endeavoured to find solutions, but his side were left wanting and suffered a dismal run of form throughout February and early March.

Tuchel’s success is based on his defensive nous and he will certainly not want to find himself in the same position Liverpool were in last season.

It appears Chelsea will need to have some luck on the injury front if they are to lift the Premier League trophy in May.

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