Paul Merson has urged Frank Lampard to invest in his defence this summer and pinpointed Manchester City centre-back John Stones as a potential signing.
Merson also feels City need to strengthen at the back but fears they may struggle to find a world class centre-half needed to improve their defensive record.
As for Tottenham, Merson believes they will have a fight on their hands to keep striker Harry Kane, who represents a better option than “hot and cold” Anthony Martial and would make Manchester United Premier League title challengers.
People talk about the goalkeeper being a priority. Kepa Arrizabalaga is not saving them any points at the moment, that’s a problem, but they have a really good second goalkeeper in Willy Caballero, and I think he is really underrated. In this day and age, if we’re talking about Jan Oblak, he’s going to cost £100m. Kepa himself cost £71m, and has big wages too.
I’m not sure about this one, as it wouldn’t be my major priority for the summer for Chelsea. Do they sign another £100m on a goalkeeper, where you’ve already got a goalkeeper you’ve spent £71m on, on big money, and you’re not going to get that money back? It becomes a £150m goalkeeper in the end, because you’d need to swallow the pill on Kepa. For me it’s not their major priority.
Their priority has to be getting a centre-half and a left-back. 100 per cent. It tells you everything that they have to play three at the back, Frank Lampard doesn’t trust the centre-backs. They’ve bought well so far up front, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are major signings, but don’t end up like Arsenal, where everyone is crying out and can see what they need. How many years did we say Arsene Wenger needs a centre-half, but he never went and got one?
Marcos Alonso for me needs replacing; he gets vital goals but he’s not a natural defender. That doesn’t help the back three because centre-halves have to come out of their comfort zone and come out of the line of the box to defend on the wings. Alonso causes that problem.
Cesar Azpilicueta is a great pro, but he’s getting on now. Kurt Zouma has a mistake in him. Chelsea don’t have a naturally-gifted centre-half who can put his foot on the ball and play. I’d go and get John Stones for that, and play him in the middle of the three. Then I’d say have Antonio Rudiger and Christensen either side of them.
Chelsea love to play out the back, they roll it out every time, so you need someone unbelievably good on the ball. If you have pace around them, I think it will help Chelsea; I think Stones would be a great buy, and he has to play in a three.
Stones has the potential to be great, he really has, but he needs the confidence. At the moment Chelsea have three centre-halves that aren’t in the same class as Stones on the ball.