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What Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel must do to mount a serious title challenge to Manchester City

It has been a pretty good summer for Thomas Tuchel. The German has had four weeks to bask in his impressive first six months in charge at Chelsea.

Fresh from his Champions League triumph with Chelsea, the German enters the 2021-22 campaign with hopes high of mounting a serious challenge to Manchester City. 

But there is still plenty for the manager to work out and improve ahead of the new season.

Thomas Tuchel is hoping to mount a challenge to Premier League champions Manchester City 

The Blues, at times, struggled for goals under Tuchel last season with Timo Werner baring the brunt of the criticism directed at his misfiring forwards. 

He will want his side to become more ruthless in front of goal if they are to pose a serious threat to City’s Premier League crown.

There is also the issue of clearing out some of the players who no longer have a future at Stamford Bridge as well as bringing in new faces to strengthen the squad.

With just under two weeks until Chelsea’s first game against Crystal Palace on August 14, Sportsmail looks at what Tuchel has to do to get his team ready for the new campaign. 

GET WERNER FIRING 

As far as confidence boosters go, winning the Champions League will have certainly lifted Timo Werner’s spirits after a torrid debut campaign in England.  

Werner, a £53m signing from RB Leipzig, often cut a dejected, isolated figure bereft of confidence last season, with the 25-year-old some distance from displaying the talent that convinced Chelsea to pay big money for him.    

Werner scored 12 goals in all competitions last season, but only four of those strikes came in 2021, with the striker enduring a barren goalscoring drought. 

The fact the Blues are in the market for another big name striker, 12 months on from landing Werner, paints a sorry picture of the German’s time at the club.   

Timo Werner had a difficult first season at Chelsea and will be looking for more goals this term

Timo Werner had a difficult first season at Chelsea and will be looking for more goals this term

Thomas Tuchel has long backed Werner to ‘catch the moment’ and find his goalscoring touch again and the Blues boss will recognise that he has a role to play in Werner’s renaissance. 

Both Tuchel and his predecessor, Frank Lampard, struggled to work out which position Werner thrives in, with the German utilised through the middle and on the flanks. 

He contributed with 15 assists last season, but it is goals that will propel Chelsea into bonafide title challengers and Tuchel must ensure his countryman hits the ground running – or else patience in Werner will soon wear thin.    

SIGN A NEW CENTRE BACK

Tuchel’s sensational six months in charge at Chelsea can be attributed to his side’s newfound defensive solidity. 

In the space of mere weeks the German transformed his side’s backline from a leaky mess to a tough and organised group, with Brazilian veteran Thiago Silva’s leadership helping shore things up at the back.

But Tuchel could still do with strengthening his centre back options. Silva is 36 and will not be able to play every game while Andreas Christensen has also had injury problems. 

The Blues want to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde with the clubs having discussed a £50m deal that would see Kurt Zouma head to Spain as a makeweight.

But, as reported by Sportsmail, Zouma would prefer to stay in the Premier League which could throw a spanner in the works.

Should a move for Kounde collapse, Tuchel would be forced to look at other options but time is running out ahead of the new season. 

The Blues want to sign a centre back and Sevilla's Jules Kounde (pictured) is their No 1 target

The Blues want to sign a centre back and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde (pictured) is their No 1 target 

CLEAR OUT THE DEADWOOD

Chelsea have already seen several players depart this summer.

Olivier Giroud joined Fikayo Tomori at AC Milan while Billy Gilmour will spend the season with Norwich to gain some more first-team experience.

But there are several players without a future at Stamford Bridge that Tuchel will have to move on in order to trim down his bloated squad.

Danny Drinkwater, who hasn’t played for the club in three years, is one of the players who has little chance of forcing his way into contention. The midfielder spent he second half of the 2020-21 season on loan at Kasimpasa in Turkey.

The likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley, who both had season-long loan spells away from the Blues last season, have more of a chance of turning their fortunes around.

Danny Drinkwater (above) is one of several players not set to feature for Chelsea this season

Danny Drinkwater (above) is one of several players not set to feature for Chelsea this season

Lewis Baker has had eight loan spells away from Chelsea and is not likely to force his way into the first-team

Jake Clarke-Salter has also had several loans away from the Blues and would find it difficult to break into the squad

Lewis Baker (left) and Jake Clarke-Salter (right) have both had multiple loan spells and are unlikely to force their way into the first-team

Barkley started his spell with Villa brightly but faded badly towards the end of the season after struggling with an injury during the middle of the season.

There are other fringe players like Lewis Baker, Matt Miazga and Jake Clarke-Salter and Davide Zappacosta, who have had 19 loan spells between them, who the club will hope to move on.

The Blues will want to try and get a fee for those who will attract more interest in order to reinvest the funds strengthening their squad.

MAKE HIS ATTACK RUTHLESS

One of the key issues Tuchel was faced with resolving when he took the Chelsea job was sorting out their defence.

The German made his team hard to beat but they could, at times, lack a clinical edge.

Jorginho finished the season as the club’s top scorer with seven goals – all of which came from the penalty spot. 

It wasn’t just Werner who was misfiring, Kai Havertz was also guilty of squandering chances while the Blues sometimes found it hard to break teams down.

Chelsea need their attackers to be more ruthless in front of goal but Kai Havertz should be feeling confident heading into the new season

Chelsea need their attackers to be more ruthless in front of goal but Kai Havertz should be feeling confident heading into the new season

However, Havertz looks as if he is beginning to feel more at home in a Chelsea shirt. The 22-year-old scored three goals in his final five games of last season and netted the winner in the Champions League final. 

He also scored twice for German at Euro 2020 and was on target in the Blues’ 2-1 pre-season victory over Arsenal. He should be feeling extremely confident heading into the new season.

Christian Pulisic has finally had the benefit of a full pre-season which should help him make a quicker start to this campaign.

Tammy Abraham’s future is uncertain but if he is to remain at Stamford Bridge he too will have to be more ruthless in front of goal. 

Tuchel may still be able to bring in a new striker before the end of the transfer window but there is plenty of talent already in his squad if they can start taking more of their chances. 

MOUNT A CHALLENGE TO CITY

Tuchel out-witted Pep Guardiola three times last season. In the league, in the semi-final of the FA Cup and, most importantly, in the Champions League final.

But taking Manchester City’s Premier League crown will prove difficult, especially if Guardiola is able to add Jack Grealish and Harry Kane to his squad.

After winning the Champions League in May, the goal for Tuchel has to be closing the gap with City at the top of the league table.

Chelsea finished 19 points below the champions last season and only sealed a top four spot on the final day.

Manchester United and Liverpool will also be looking to close the gap with City. United have strengthened their squad by signing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane while Liverpool brought in Ibrahima Konate. 

Chelsea are yet to make a significant signing with third choice goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli the only new addition. Tuchel won’t want to be playing catch up early in the season and will likely have to make more signings before the end of the transfer window.

Tuchel outwitted Pep Guardiola three times last season but will now want to challenge his team at the top of the table

Tuchel outwitted Pep Guardiola three times last season but will now want to challenge his team at the top of the table

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