Premier League • England

Pochettino warned of serious Chelsea transfer blunder with six set to leave and next signing identified

Mauricio Pochettino

New Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has been told he needs to seriously bolster his midfield options this summer with Chelsea great Frank Leboeuf concerned by the probable exits of six stars at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have spent close to £600m since Todd Boehly’s takeover at Stamford Bridge one year ago. In that time, 17 new players have arrived, though not, to this point, to the club’s benefit.

Indeed, despite the spendthrift policy emplyed by Chelsea, the club recorded their lowest-ever points tally in the season just finished. That saw the Blues finish in a worryingly-low 12th place; some 45 points adrift of champions Manchester City and just 10 points clear of the drop zone.

That leaves newly-appointed manager Pochettino with a huge job on his hands. He will want to put his own stamp on the Chelsea squad, but inevitably  – and due to the sheer bloated nature of their squad – exits are just as inevitable.

Jorginho – who departed for Arsenal in January – was the first big-name to depart. However, others are due to follow suit with N’Golo Kante heading to Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad and Mateo Kovacic nearing a move to Manchester City.

The trio have been long-standing regulars in the Blues side. And while Enzo Fernandez arrived in a club-record deal in January, Leboeuf is concerned and says others need to follow.

The Blues are reportedly targeting a deal for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, with a big-money deal in the offing.

But with Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and possibly Conor Gallagher also leaving, Leboeuf is worried the Blues are exposed in midfield.

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Leboeuf wants Chelsea to sign more midfielders

Assessing their transfer business, the World Cup winner feels Chelsea are leaving themselves woefully short.

He told ESPNFC: “Of course I am (concerned) because that was one of the main strengths at the time of that club at the time with Kante, Kovacic and Jorginho were at their tops.

“Jorginho left last season, Kante is going to Saudi Arabia and Kovavic is about to sign for Manchester City.

“If we consider that Caicedo is about move in I think they have to find somebody else alongside Enzo Fernandez.

“[Carney] Chukwuemeka, Gallager and maybe Loftus-Cheek are leaving. I think it doesn’t give you too many options to fulfil that spot and make sure you’re going to be competitive and that’s a concern.

“Either Gallagher or Loftus-Cheek should stay to maybe substitute but you cannot leave only two players in that situation.

“Look at Kovacic, he’s going to sign for Manchester City. But Rodri and John Stones are the guys playing normally there, so for me he’s going as a substitute.

“Chelsea have to make sure they are strong in the middle of the park because we all know the battle is there.”

Despite Leboeuf’s concerns, Pochettino’s first signing at Chelsea looks likely to come in attack. To that end, talks over a deal for Villarreal’s Nicolas Jackson are moving forwards quickly.

In addition, Chelsea are also reportedy eyeing a World Cup winner in a blockbuster deal.

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