Premier League • England

Chelsea need yet another ‘half a team’ to catch Man City; two newcomers ‘not good enough’ for title challenge

Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez

Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez

Jamie Carragher has claimed Chelsea would need to sign another four elite players to become Premier League title challengers again.

Chelsea have spent more than £1bn on transfers since Todd Boehly’s ownership group took charge, including breaking the British transfer record twice in 2023 alone on Enzo Fernandez and then Moises Caicedo. However, they finished in the bottom half of the Premier League table last season and only on Monday against Fulham did they get their second win of the new campaign.

Not since the 2016-17 season have Chelsea won the league title and they are already 10 points off the pace behind current leaders and defending champions Manchester City this season after seven games.

And despite all the money they have invested into their squad, their strongest lineup does still not look capable of competing for top spot.

That’s according to Sky Sports pundit Carragher, who believes the best XI that Mauricio Pochettino could select if everyone was available would be (in a 4-2-3-1 formation): Robert Sanchez; Reece James, Thiago Silva, Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell; Caicedo, Fernandez; Raheem Sterling, Christopher Nkunku, Mykhaylo Mudryk; Nicolas Jackson.

For the former Liverpool defender, though, that lineup would still need to be replenished further to establish itself towards City’s level.

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Carragher said on Monday Night Football: “You very rarely get your best XI on the pitch and they have suffered from injuries.

“That is a team that is, at best, fighting for the top four. If you’re telling me that is Chelsea’s best team after they’ve spent £1bn… that team would still need at least four top players if they had any chance of catching Manchester City.

“The goalkeeper is not good enough, the centre-forward is not good enough, they need a centre-back and probably another midfield player.

“To think Chelsea have spent over £1bn and they still feel like they’re half a team away from competing for the Premier League title is flabbergasting.”

Jackson and Sanchez under scrutiny by Carragher

Chelsea’s goalkeeper is Sanchez, whom they only bought this summer from Brighton, while their main striker is another newcomer in the shape of ex-Villarreal forward Jackson.

TEAMtalk recently revealed that Chelsea are planning to invest in a more proven centre-forward during the January transfer window, although plans to poach Lautaro Martinez from Inter in the summer never paid off.

There is still faith in Jackson for the long term, but it remains to be seen how patient a club of Chelsea’s calibre can afford to be.

As for the goalkeeping berth, there was initially a belief that Sanchez would come in as a second choice, before he won over Pochettino and became no.1 after Kepa Arrizabalaga left on loan for Real Madrid.