Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has suggested that Chelsea made a mistake in allowing a first-team player to leave in August.
The Blues had a clear out during the summer transfer window, allowing the likes of Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Victor Moses to depart. Davide Zappacosta was also sold to Atalanta, while Olivier Giroud and Tiemoue Bakayoko both joined AC Milan.
One of their biggest sales involved French centre-back Kurt Zouma. He signed for David Moyes’ West Ham in a deal worth £29.8million.
However, Merson thinks Chelsea could face problems further down the line as a result of the 26-year-old’s exit.
“Letting Zouma go and not bringing anyone in, especially when they play three at the back [is a mistake],” said Merson.
“You are going to call on times when [Reece] James will have to play as one of the three, which he is more of a wing-back, for me.
“They have got cover, but if them players had to play nine, ten, 11 or 12 games during the season all in one-hit at that position, it’s going to be a lot more difficult.
“For me, I think the Zouma one, surely they would have let him go on the strength of getting [Jules] Kounde in? Otherwise, they think that [Trevoh] Chalobah will be good and I think he will be good – I think Zouma will be missed, I do think he will be missed.”
22-year-old Chalobah has impressed Thomas Tuchel at the start of the campaign. He featured in the European Super Cup victory over Villarreal and scored on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace.
However, he is nowhere near as experienced as Zouma, which is where problems could arise.
Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia was intent on signing Kounde from Sevilla but could not get a deal over the line.
Sevilla director Monchi recently revealed that the two clubs had not been in contact days prior to the transfer deadline.
“The only written, formal offer from Chelsea came last Wednesday, around 5pm,” he said.
“We weren’t satisfied with the offer, and it was linked to Chelsea selling a player. It was a decent fee but it didn’t meet our criteria.
“We haven’t spoken with Chelsea since Friday night. We all decided that it was best Jules didn’t travel to Elche. It’s normal for players to be affected by news of any kind. Last year he had the interest from City and now Chelsea this year.
“Kounde’s clause never went up to €90m (£77m). It has always been €80m (£58m).”
Saul loan completed by Chelsea
One surprising transfer that went through on Tuesday was Saul Niguez’s arrival at Chelsea.
The Spain international has joined Tuchel’s men on loan for an initial €5m (£4m). Chelsea have the option to make his move permanent for €35m (£30m) next summer.
On his transfer, Saul said: “I am very excited to start this new challenge with Chelsea. Blues fans, I am one of you now and I can’t wait to wear the shirt, start training and see all of you. See you soon!”
The player will rival Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic for a starting spot in midfield. Young starlet Billy Gilmour has already been loaned out to Norwich City.
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