Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has dropped a big hint over their rumoured pursuit of Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana, underlining the need to bolster his back-line with a young defender.
The Blues started the first game of their new Premier League season with three veterans in their back-line: Thiago Silva (37), Cesar Azpilicueta (32) and new signing Kalidou Koulibaly (31).
While Tuchel likes being able to rely on their experience, he has stressed on refreshing his options with young blood – such as the 21-year-old Fofana.
‘It is a lot of experience, it is maybe another of age, it is a lot of experience and they have their quality and they know what they are doing,’ said Tuchel after Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Everton.
‘We also need to make sure we have a new generation to take over in the next years but the guys are strong that is why they are under contract and the guys have our trust.
‘There needs to be [balance]. I think it is necessary. The game in general is very physical and demands a lot. This is the situation. We knew it before.
‘Azpi is the legend that he is, Thiago is in the moment still very important to us and when we had the chance to sign Kalidou we did it because we believe that he has some years ahead of him.
‘But in general it is the fact that like the goalkeeper and the double sixes are in their thirties, and that is just what it is.
‘Pace is an issue and speed is an issue. In all signings, this is the demand of the game that you can play one on ones, that you can defend space if needed with high-speed runs.’
Leicester are adamant Fofana is not for sale and it will take an offer of around £85m to convince the Foxes to sell.
Chelsea, meanwhile, were unconvincing in their win over Everton – secured via a Jorginho penalty – and Tuchel believes that was down to the lack of fitness of his wing-backs.
He added: ‘Our formation is a deep formation because the centre of the formation is in the three centre backs and the two No6s, so it is a deep formation in which you rely heavily on the two wing-backs.
‘Today we played with Ben Chilwell who was not, for me, 100 per cent ready to start but the situation with Marcos Alonso [soon to leave for Barcelona] and the late signing of Marc Cucurella made it necessary that we took the risk.
‘Reece [James] struggles also at the moment to have full, full fitness so on the right we didn’t have enough from the wing backs to create a bit more freedom for the inner players.’