Rio Ferdinand claims Chelsea’s squad ‘lacks balance’ as Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount lead midfield exodus… as the ex-United star insists Enzo Fernandez needs a partner
Rio Ferdinand believes that Chelsea’s squad is now unbalanced after a number of midfield players left the club at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Regular starter Mateo Kovacic has left the Blues for Treble-winners Manchester City on a £25million deal, with long-term defensive midfield star N’Golo Kante also departing for Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.
The club also lost Jorginho in the January transfer window after Italian joined rivals Arsenal, and are set to wave goodbye to both Mason Mount – with the club agreeing to a £60m fee with Man United – and Ruben Loftus-Cheek this summer.
With only record signing Enzo Fernandez, Conor Gallagher and youngsters Carney Chukwuemeka and Andrey Santos remaining as recognised central midfielders, the Blues now appear thin in the ranks in the middle of the park.
And it is a partner for the Argentine World Cup winner that Ferdinand suggests the Blues need to target, with Mauricio Pochettino set to oversee a rebuild of the club following a bitterly disappointing campaign.
Rio Ferdinand suggested that Chelsea’s squad has become unbalanced by their outgoing transfer deals
Mateo Kovacic joined rivals Manchester City on a £25million deal earlier in the transfer window
‘You look at Chelsea’s midfield – Jorginho went last season, Kante and Kovacic have gone, Mount and Loftus-Cheek are on their way out,’ Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel.
‘That’s five midfielders, two or three of them start. There’s no midfield at that club at the moment.
‘They’ve got about eight or nine attacking players in the wide areas but the squad lacks balance, they’re crying out for some midfielders.
‘It’s going to be interesting to see where they go because they need someone alongside Enzo, who they spent £100m on.’
One player that the club has consistently been linked with is Brighton’s £80m-rated Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo, who would likely join Fernandez in the middle of the park, should a deal be reached with the Seagulls.
It has been a busy 12 months of recruitment at Stamford Bridge, where Todd Boehly has spent close to £600m on new additions after taking over the club last summer.
However, Ferdinand noted that many of those to leave west London have spent a number of season at the club, and are considered among the more experienced players, as they make way for a number of junior stars to take their places.
‘Are these players Chelsea are buying for the future?’ he queried.
Record signing Enzo Fernandez is one of few remaining recognised central midfielders at the club
N’Golo Kante has also departed Stamford Bridge, joining Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Ittihad
Moises Caicedo has been consistently linked to the Blues and could cost around £80million
‘Because they’ve sold a lot of experience and are bringing in players that look like development players to me.
‘They look like they will need time. They’ve got huge potential but Chelsea need players for now as well.
‘Is it a change in tact in their recruitment? It’s going to be really interesting to see how Chelsea shape up after the transfer window. Chelsea fans might need to be patient.’
Chelsea have also sold Kai Havertz to Arsenal, Kalidou Koulibaly to Al-Hilal and Edouard Mendy to Al-Ahli, with Hakim Ziyech believed to be close to a move to Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League.