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Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and crucial transfer decisions looming over Marina Granovskaia

The January transfer window is almost over and it seems unlikely Chelsea are going to be majorly active in the remaining days.

The Blues have signed Dylan Williams of Derby for their development team, brought Kenedy back from his loan to Flamengo and reorganised some of the youngsters they have out on loan.

While Ben Chilwell remains out for the season, hopes are high that Reece James is approaching his return and signs of a wing-back coming to Stamford Bridge seem less and less likely.

Lyon appear to be standing firm in not allowing Emerson Palmieri’s loan to be cut short, and Chelsea’s attention must turn to the future and what their squad could look like come the start of next season.

Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech have a close relationship with Thomas Tuchel, and while the latter is focusing on providing the Blues with another successful term, there will be plenty of conversations about how to maintain that.

Difficult decisions are already underway, with the Chelsea hierarchy in negotiations with Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta over potential new deals.

Salaries have been the stumbling block for the former duo, though hopes of their extension are not yet dead. The difficulty with Azpilicueta’s deal appears to be the length of contract, with Barcelona reportedly open to the three years the Spaniard wants.

The Blues are reluctant to offer long-term deals to those over 30.

While Chelsea’s captain has been a stellar servant, the Blues are likely only at the start of such dilemmas. More than half of the Blues playing staff have contracts set to expire within the next 18 months.

Most notably with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, now over 30 and with contracts set to expire in 2023, a decision must be made on the Blues’ elite stars. Not only will consideration have to be given to the kind of deals they are offered, but also to any bids that come in.

Juventus are already thought to be tracking Jorginho and another 12 months with the Italian will need to be weighed up against what a fee could go towards.

Most notably with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, now over 30 and with contracts set to expire in 2023, a decision must be made on the Blues’ elite stars. Not only will consideration have to be given to the kind of deals they are offered, but also to any bids that come in.

Juventus are already thought to be tracking Jorginho and another 12 months with the Italian will need to be weighed up against what a fee could go towards.

Chelsea’s financial positions means they are rarely in a position where they need to sell.

This, of course, leaves Granovskaia and the club in a strong position when it comes to negotiating transfers, although it leaves the possibility that players could be kept longer than necessary too.

Despite the way the squad was stretched in December and January, Chelsea have more squad depth than most in the Premier League. However, that brings it’s own problems

Presuming Romelu Lukaku is presented as Chelsea’s focal point, in Tuchel’s most utilised system it leaves two spots for Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi to play in advanced positions.

Mount is close to a certain starter and came through the academy alongside Hudson-Odoi, but the remaining four cost a combined £214 million.

All have had their moments but have failed to establish themselves as truly undroppable in Tuchel’s mind. Given their profile and ambition, it’s only natural that rumours emerge about their potential to depart.

It’s difficult to argue that the players Chelsea bought have elevated their profile at Stamford Bridge and as a result Chelsea are unlikely to be able to recoup the full fees paid for them.

Whether a departure or two would allow the club to chase new targets or find players more specifically suited to Tuchel’s systems is a question that will need to be considered.

A certain Ousmane Dembele could be available in the summer on a free transfer, for example. Regardless of the merits of such a move, it does really feel like there is room in the Chelsea squad at the moment.

Chelsea will find themselves in a similar predicament with Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Spaniard has been the ideal back-up goalkeeper to Edouard Mendy this season, and improved his standing in the eyes of the Blues’ fanbase and beyond.

Chelsea stumped up more than £70million to sign the goalkeeper and despite just being 27, it is difficult to see him usurping the impressive Mendy, who is not much older.

The Spaniard is often linked with moves away – in particular to Lazio – and there’s no prospect of Chelsea receiving a fee in the region of what they paid. They may have to decide what they are willing to accept, if Kepa sets his sights on a starting spot elsewhere.

From their truly elite stars, to fringe players and academy prospects, tough decisions await the Blues.

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