Chelsea can have spent over £270million this summer after heavy backing from owner Todd Boehly, but with head coach Graham Potter eyeing his own transfer targets in January, the World Cup is prone to be populated with several scouts from the club’s recruitment team. The Blues have their sights set on no less than eight players to trace in Qatar because the month-long tournament gets underway.
Potter is in dire need of recent faces within the squad despite eight recent signings over the summer, with Thomas Tuchel in charge before his brutal sacking. The 47-year-old’s contrasting style to his predecessor means he might have some recent technicians to be added to his squad and with an abundance of talent on show within the Middle East, Chelsea can keep an in depth eye on their prospective targets.
Aided by the appointments of his recruitment chief Kyle Macaulay and Paul Winstanley, along with technical director Christopher Vivell, Potter will have the opportunity to consider training his squad back in Cobham while the club’s transfer gurus run the rule over his targets.
Express Sport takes a better take a look at the eight potential players who might be watched closely this winter by Potter’s recruitment team.
Christopher Nkunku – France
Chelsea have been watching RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku for a while, however the French star will finally be unleashed onto the largest stage this summer to prove he can perform at the best level. Alongside Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, Nkunku can have one of the best opportunity to showcase his talents in front of scouts from around Europe, with Real Madrid also regarded as interested.
The 24-year-old has already hit 14 goals in all competitions this season, along with the 35 he scored in 2021-22. The Blues are in pole position to land the France international with a £70m deal on the table for Leipzig to approve in the summertime of 2023, although Potter will want to move up the timeline given his side’s goalscoring problems of late.
Frenkie De Jong and Denzel Dumfries – Netherlands
While De Jong’s move to the Premier League failed to come back to fruition over the summer, speculation regarding the Dutchman’s future refuses to die down amid concerns over Barcelona’s funds. In the event that they needed to sell, the 25-year-old can be probably the most lucrative asset to dump and Chelsea could also be seeking to recruit, with doubts over Jorginho and N’Golo Kante’s future beyond 2023.
The Blues shall be keeping an in depth eye on his international team-mate Dumfries too. The wing-back has impressed for Inter Milan since joining from PSV Eindhoven in 2021, scoring seven goals in 65 games, and will represent a rotational option with Reece James, with Potter left short in that area.
Josko Gvardiol – Croatia
Like his Leipzig colleague Nkunku, Gvardiol is anticipated to sign for Chelsea next summer in a £60m transfer and the 20-year-old shall be collaborating in his second major tournament within the space of two years after impressing at Euro 2020.
The centre-back has been earmarked as a long-term solution to Chelsea’s issues with a left-sided centre-back, with Kalidou Koulibaly removed from convincing since his £34m move from Napoli. Gvardiol shall be representing Croatia on the World Cup and, with a comparatively straightforward task to qualify, they need to have the opportunity to look at him beyond the group stages.
Jude Bellingham – England
One of the-coveted talents in world football shall be strutting his stuff for England in Qatar, with Bellingham set to take a number one role in Gareth Southgate’s team on the age of just 19.
There may be little that Chelsea and the likes of Liverpool, Manchesters United and City don’t already know in regards to the talented midfielder. He’s a sublime player who glides through the midfield with the ball and possesses an outstanding range of passing. Delivering a memorable display at a serious tournament might be the ultimate box to envision before Chelsea get out their proverbial chequebook.
Edson Alvarez – Mexico
Chelsea failed with a deadline-day move for Alvarez after the Mexican saw his £43m move to Stamford Bridge blocked by Ajax, so it will be logical to assume the Blues will return with one other bid in January.
The holding midfielder will play a key role within the Mexico side’s engine room, keeping play ticking over by keeping possession and patrolling the back 4. The 25-year-old was reportedly keen to depart the Dutch giants this summer, so he shall be out to impress any visiting scouts when playing for his national team.
Leandro Trossard – Belgium
Potter is unlikely to wish any further information on Trossard after bringing the Belgian to the Amex Stadium in 2019 and helping the Belgian turn into one in all the Premier League’s most potent attacking midfielders.
But it surely could also be useful to document how the 27-year-old suits right into a Belgium side burgeoning with talented players and whether he can cut it against a few of the world’s best defenders. Useless to say, it’ll be interesting when Belgium meet Croatia, with Trossard pitted against Gvardiol, with the pair potentially becoming team-mates next season.
Jose Gimenez – Uruguay
Recent reports have suggested Chelsea could make one other big-money move for a centre-back, with Atletico Madrid star Gimenez high on the agenda, and going up against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal should give him the right litmus test of whether he is nice enough.
The towering defender is supplied to cope with the physicality of the Premier League and, at 27, shall be competing in his third World Cup with Uruguay. His experience shall be vital to the Latin American nation and Chelsea will little question be keeping close tabs on his progress in Qatar.