Chelsea have endured a tough defence of their Premier League title.
Winning back in 2016-17 campaign, many thought they had the right tools to defend. As it stands, they might not even make it to the top spots to feature in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Also out of this year’s European competition, the last chance for the Blues to secure silverware is to beat Manchester United in the final of the FA Cup.
There have been a lot of issues that have contributed to Chelsea’s disappointing season. Players who were key in winning them the championship last season have been out of form.
David Luiz has been hampered with injuries, Eden Hazard has been very inconsistent and the same can be said for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
However, Pedro Rodriguez can be singled out as his form this year has been so far from last and much was expected of the winger after helping the team last year.
Pedro managed nine goals and nine assists in 35 league games for Chelsea last year, but this year he has managed only four goals and two assists in 27 appearances.
At 30 years old, his time at Stamford Bridge may be up, but there have been rumours circulating on his possible replacement. The names below could be Chelsea targets during the summer.
HELDER COSTA – WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Chelsea could look to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a replacement with winger Helder Costa.
The 24-year-old starlet played well and helped Wolves win promotion to the Premier League, and his prize may be signing with a big club like Chelsea.
In 34 games in the Championship, the Portuguese national scored five goals and provided six assists for the team.
He has also shown excellent versatility from both flanks and he works especially well when playing behind the striker.
Costa still has a relatively low transfer market cost, making him a great signing for Chelsea as they look to overhaul players from multiple positions.
GELSON MARTINS – SPORTING LISBON
Being described as the next Cristiano Ronaldo should be enough for people to pay attention to the potential Gelson Martins has.
The 22 year old currently plays for Sporting Lisbon and is an exciting prospect who boasts incredible speed and creativity when on the pitch.
Martins depends on his technical ability and speed to beat opponents, rather than muscling his way through which works best for wingers looking to kick a cross in along the flanks.
In 29 games in the Liga NOS, Martins has produced eight goals and eight assists and is much cheaper than Costa – with a higher ceiling for improvement.
WILFRIED ZAHA – CRYSTAL PALACE
At 25 years old, Wilfried Zaha may finally be ready to fulfil the potential many saw him have when he was younger.
Making his name with Crystal Palace, Manchester United took a gamble in 2013 but Zaha failed to impress the United management.
This resulted in him returning to Crystal Palace but he has since flourished as a gifted striker/winger.
The Ivory Coast national has scored eight goals and provided five assists in 27 league games and if his next move is moving to Chelsea, he wouldn’t need to adapt to the style of play at the top flight.
Being a player in the league, Chelsea would have to pay top money for Zaha, but it may be a good investment moving forward.
CHRISTIAN PULISIC – BORUSSIA DORTMUND
The youngest player on the list, Christian Pulisic is a popular figure at Borussia Dortmund and is very likely to attract interest from big teams like Chelsea.
At 19 years old, the American has been a constant with Dortmund, playing 30 games in the Bundesliga and has scored four goals and six assists so far.
Many compare Pulisic to Hazard and even Lionel Messi as he is a player with a small stature, but has impressive speed and ball control that mesmerizes opponents. This has resulted in big teams including his name in their wish lists.
Chelsea definitely will be in the running to sign the winger if he is ready to move on, however, there are reports that the Blues can send out as much as £88 million for him to move to Stamford Bridge.
ANTHONY MARTIAL – MANCHESTER UNITED
For a player with a proven track record in the Premier League, Anthony Martial may be the best replacement Chelsea can get for Pedro.
Currently plying his trade with Manchester United, many reports have revealed that Martial is unsettled at Old Trafford and that could prompt Chelsea to try and swoop in for a deal.
Despite a subpar performance this season, Martial has produced 11 goals and nine assists across all competitions for the Red Devils.
Only 22 years old, the Frenchman has certainly a lot to offer and having him play regular football can only bring out the best in him.
Chelsea can certainly do a lot with Martial’s pace and incredible dribbling skills that could open up the offence for the Blues especially in the final third. If Martial can be properly utilised, he can rejuvenate the team and make them more menacing.
There are certainly other wingers that can make the list, but Chelsea are a team with ambition and looking at these players should be a priority if they want to improve.