If Thomas Tuchel’s goal-scoring problems weren’t big enough heading into the new Premier League season, he could be about to lose one of the club’s top contributors.
With Kai Havertz and Armando Broja looking like the most natural players to fill the middle spot in a fluid front three, with Raheem Sterling’s attacking instincts added in, Chelsea are in need of a consistent stream of goals.
The Blues haven’t replaced Romelu Lukaku who still finished top of the scoring charts in all competitions last season, but only managed 15.
Tuchel was heavily reliant on his attacking wingbacks to make attacking contributions last season but the early loss of Ben Chilwell cut his spritely form down, leaving Marcos Alonso to take over. The Spaniard is no stranger to being in the final third and possess an extraordinary record for a player in his position, scoring 29 times for the club with 23 assists.
The 31-year-old looks set to leave the club this summer though, bringing his five-year stay in London to end. He was expected to make a move to Barcelona this window, along with Cesar Azpilicueta, but progress has been slow due to the Catalan club’s ever-changing financial situation and a reluctance to work with Xavi’s side after the Jules Kounde transfer saga.
It has also taken longer as Tuchel prepared to wait for a replacement wingback. Chelsea did have Emerson as well as Alonso and Chilwell to fit the spot, but the Italian is set to make a move away from the club, meanwhile Kennedy isn’t seen as part of the first team plans.
With Chilwell’s fitness and sharpness still a concern, the announcement of Brighton’s Marc Cucurella on a six-year deal has all but given Tuchel the all-clear to sell Alonso. Fabrizio Romano reported: “Barcelona are really close to signing Marcos Alonso! Talks are progressing well with Chelsea after Cucurella deal completed, personal terms agreed months ago. Been told it’s now really close.
“Parties waiting for Tuchel’s green light but now finally confident.”
This came before confirmation of Cucurella’s announcement, meaning that there may even be a hint towards Alonso’s future in the matchday squad away at Everton tomorrow, though the club’s own social media channel has provided a hint of it’s own.
In some photos of Cucurella holding up the new white away jersey it appeared that he had been given the no.32. One of the images with the new squad number was deleted though and this opens up the possibility that Alonso’s no.3 top could be given to Cucurella.
Alonso will leave a gap that is bigger than his trophy laden five seasons in London, his goal-scoring abilities currently have him just one behind Mason Mount as the leading marksman at Stamford Bridge, Jorginho is tied with Alonso in second with 29.
Cucurella isn’t known for the same clinical ability in the box, only scoring one goal for Brighton in 38 matches.