The 2022 free agent list is stacked with talent that Chelsea and a number of clubs may be keeping an eye on with the potential to seal pre-contract agreements or bargain deals
It looks to be the case that Chelsea will be in a three-horse race for the Premier League title this season.
But whilst Manchester City and Liverpool are looking as dangerous as they ever have over the last few years, it’s currently Chelsea who sit top of the table one-third of the way through the season.
If Thomas Tuchel wants to put his team in an even stronger position as we move into the second half of the season, he could dip into the January transfer window to look for a bargain – or even agree deals for the summer.
Although prices are usually inflated in the window with blockbuster moves unlikely to happen, there are certainly a few players Chelsea could look to bring in who would make instant improvements to the squad depth. If clubs weren’t willing to let their star assets leave, though, pre-contract agreements could be sorted for those with expiring deals this summer.
Here are four players Chelsea could look at who fall into that category, with their contracts expiring in the summer.
A handful of teams will be in the race to sign Franck Kessie on a free transfer when his contract expires this summer. Kessie and AC Milan are in deadlock in their contract talks, and it’s expected that he’s looking to leave Italy.
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But Chelsea could cut the queue in January if they’re interested in bringing him in – and they probably should be.
A defensive midfielder whose improvement has been linear from year to year, Kessie has become one of the better central midfielders in world football at the age of just 24.
Although he’s primarily a player who looks to sit in front of the back four and break up play – which he does as well as anyone – Kessie has vastly improved going forward with an impressive 13 goals last season.
Another defensive midfield option, Marcelo Brozovic would be an immediate first-team player who Chelsea could add for very little.
Like Kessie, Brozovic has been unable to agree a new deal with current club Inter Milan, and looks set to leave as a free agent in the summer.
However, there’s been talks of Inter looking to grab a fee for the Croatian – and he wouldn’t cost too much.
A powerful, ball-playing central midfielder who protects the back four as well as may in world football – players of his standard don’t usually leave on a free.
At 29 years old, signing Brozovic would be a very ‘win now’ move – but that’s exactly what Chelsea should be looking to do.
One of the more talented youngsters in world football, Marseille’s Boubacar Kamara will also be available on a free transfer next summer.
At the age of just 21 years old, Kamara won the eighth highest number of tackles in Ligue 1 last season and had the 10th highest number of touches among all players – making him potentially an ideal long-term replacement for N’Golo Kante.
Although primarily a defensive midfielder, Kamara has impressed when being deployed as a central defender, and in Chelsea’s back three, the Frenchman could be a perfect fit.
He’s been linked with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Newcastle United.
Ousmane Dembele is set to become a free agent after signing for Barcelona for £100million in 2017.
Still only 24 years old, the young Frenchman has plenty of football ahead of him. However, the best ability is availability – and that’s something Dembele has been to unable to offer.
Since joining the Catalan giants, he’s hugely struggled with nagging injury issues.
This has seen him make just 82 league appearances in his five seasons at the club.