Chelsea look set to face a summer of uncertainty following the end of the season, with a potential two-window transfer ban looming and question marks over the future’s of Eden Hazard, Callum Hudson-Odoi and boss Maurizio Sarri to name a few.
Christian Pulisic’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund is one certainty for the Blues this summer, however, with the winger set to join up with his new teammates following his £57million move in January.
And Chelsea also have a number of exciting young prospects set to return to the club following their respective loan deals this season, who could all potentially challenge for a first team spot in the 2019/20 campaign.
With all of that in mind, we’ve had a go at attempting to predict Chelsea’s starting XI on the first day of next season.
GK - Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa has had a strong debut season for Chelsea and looks set to be the Blues’ number one for a few years to come.
RB - Cesar Azpilicueta
Azpilicueta has had a relatively inconsistent season given his usual high standards, and with the likes of Reece James returning from Wigan following an impressive season on loan, Chelsea’s captain may have to raise his game to keep his spot.
CB - Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger has been one of Chelsea’s standout performers this season as he establishes himself as one of the key men for the Blues.
CB - Andreas Christensen
Christensen has drifted in and out of the first team this season, but the Dane has the chance to make this spot his next season, especially if the Blues’ transfer ban is upheld.
LB - Emerson
Emerson has improved as the season has gone on, and is another who has the chance to lay claim to this spot next season.
CM - N'Golo Kante
Kante is surely a guaranteed starter on the opening day of the new season.
CM - Jorginho
This position all comes down to whether Maurizio Sarri stays at the club or leaves in the summer. There is no denying that Jorginho is Sarri’s main man, and if he stays then Jorginho will clearly be the man to start. If he is replaced, however, then this spot in the midfield is up for grabs and the versatile James is certainly capable of stepping up, as he has shown during his performances in midfield for Wigan of late.
CM - Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Loftus-Cheek is another who, is he remains fit, will surely have the chance to make this spot his in the Chelsea side.
RW - Christian Pulisic
With both Willian and Pedro ageing, Pulisic will almost certainly have the chance to establish himself as the first choice right winger on the opening day of next season.
LW - Callum Hudson-Odoi/Nicolas Pepe
Another position that looks set to be up for grabs is the left wing spot. With Eden Hazard looking set to depart for Real Madrid this summer, Hudson-Odoi is the obvious choice to replace the Belgian and drift over to his preferred position on the left. Given his injury and the potential departure of Hazard, however, Chelsea could look to strengthen if they are allowed to do so, and LOSC Lille star Nicolas Pepe has been linked with a move in recent weeks.
ST - Luka Jovic/Tammy Abraham
The Blues’ impeding transfer ban will almost certainly impact who plays up front next season, with Jovic reportedly seen as one of Chelsea’s main targets should their ban be lifted this summer. Abraham meanwhile could be the main man at Stamford Bridge in 2019/20 if the Blues cannot make new signings, following his fine form on loan for Aston Villa this season, with 25 goals in 37 appearances.
Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori – Both have had a fine season under Chelsea legend Frank Lampard this season at Derby, and both look capable of competing for a spot in the first team next season.
Michy Batshuayi – Given the uncertainty surrounding Chelsea’s main striker next season, Batshuayi could have the chance to make a claim for a starting spot.
Bruno Fernandes – The attacking midfielder has had an outstanding season for Sporting Lisbon this season, scoring 28 goals in all competitions, and the Blues have been linked with a move for him.