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Premier League: Chelsea have already solved Mauricio Pochettino’s first problem to avoid £89m predicament



Transfer: Chelsea pushing to sign £40M man – 65m star has agreed six-year Chelsea move

Todd Boehly’s £35m January gamble could more than pay-off next season

Benoit Badiashile
Benoit Badiashile has proved an exquisite piece of January transfer business

Chelsea’s squad is full of players with unfilled potential desperate for the right head coach to guide them to their very best on the pitch.

In the last week, Noni Madueke has proved exactly why former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy thought so highly of him with two excellent performances against Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth. His two starts have seen the Blues score more goals (4) in the last two games than they did in their previous eight encounters.

The question mark over Chelsea’s quality in centre-forward remains to lurk over Stamford Bridge and is certainly the first priority for the next permanent boss in SW6. Yet, the amount of goals shipped throughout the season has been almost impossible to believe with the array of talent.

39 goals have been conceded in the Premier League, five more than their 32 goals for. The endless injuries to Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Kalidou Koulibaly and Thiago Silva have played an enormous part, but the defence has always included quality good enough to perform.

At Bournemouth, Wesley Fofana missed the game with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Benoit Badiashile. The £35million January arrival has struggled for minutes under Frank Lampard, being an unused substitute in three of his opening five league games, but he slotted in easily.

His display down south was one of many positives to take back to the capital, with the 22-year-old dominant alongside Thiago Silva in defence. Alongside scoring his first goal for the club, Badiashile won more than 50% of his duels and was dribbled past just once.

With Chelsea seeing more of the ball in the majority of their matches, having a centre-back comfortable on the ball and able to progress up the pitch with the composure and confidence needed is essential. Often able to link play with N’Golo Kante and Enzo Fernandez, he constantly looked for the long ball over the top for Kai Havertz – something that would work wonders with a natural striker.

Mauricio Pochettino remains the frontrunner to take over at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and sorting the defensive weakness of his squad will be on the agenda with his coaching staff.

Chelsea can’t rely on Thiago Silva, 38, on a weekly basis next season, despite his continued string of superb performances. Fofana has proved he’s willing to be a regular at the heart of Chelsea’s defence for years to come and Badiashile could be the perfect partner.

Further development in England over the rest of the season and summer for the former Monaco man could be vital in Pochettino’s implementation of his system. Chelsea have long been interested in RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol – who has been quoted at £89m – but Badiashile’s services could save the club millions in the summer.

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