No Kovacic, Mount? Choosing Chelsea’s best XI after £600m transfer spree


Raham Potter is looking for his best starting XI at Chelsea after the club’s record spending spree of £600m over two transfer windows.

British record signings Enzo Fernandez and Noni Madueke made their respective first appearances in the 0-0 draw with Fulham to set a new club record of 16 starts in a single season, beating a mark that had been set since 1909.

Indeed, since Potter joined Chelsea in September, he has made 64 roster changes in just 15 Premier League games, more than any other club in the division.

This lack of consistency in the selection is partly due to new signings and the change of manager – but also to injuries.

At the height of their injury crisis which lasted three months, Chelsea had a total of 12 players out.

Now, with Wesley Fofana the latest to return to training, Potter has the new problem of how to select a 20-man squad from his 33-man squad.

While everyone is fit, many players will be disappointed and Potter’s decision to leave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of his Champions League squad only underlines this problem.

Here, Nizaar Kinsella picks his best Chelsea XI assuming every player is fit and available…

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Deciding on a starting goalkeeper between Kepa and Edouard Mendy is almost impossible. There are reasons to choose both, but Kepa seems to be increasingly number 1 under Potter and has given his manager little reason to let him down.

Reece James

The right-back has become arguably Chelsea’s most important player, which is evidenced by the fact that the club have only won 25% of their games with him injured. An easy selection decision.

Thiago Silva

The 38-year-old continues to defy his age and is another obvious choice. Silva is arguably Chelsea’s player of the season so far.

Benoit Badiashile

The £35m signing from Monaco immediately secured a partnership with Silva which saw the club earn three consecutive clean sheets. We already have the impression that he had a better impact than Kalidou Koulibaly or Wesley Fofana.

Getty Images

Ben Chilwell

Injured since October, the England international returned for an appearance on the bench in the game against Fulham. His good set piece was immediately evident, while Marc Cucurella struggled in his absence.

Enzo Fernandez

The British transfer record signing played 90 minutes after a single training session to outline his status after joining on deadline day. Chelsea will expect him to be a linchpin in midfield for many years to come.

N’Golo Kante

Little is known about the condition Kante will be in after his four-month absence following hamstring surgery. But his performances in 2021 which helped Chelsea win the Champions League are long remembered and talks are ongoing over a new contract in case he can find that form again.

Rahim Sterling

Having been branded a marquee signing when he arrived from Manchester City last summer, the England international has since been forgotten in the excitement of the January transfer window. Sterling was one of three players to return from injury at home against Fulham and could return to an important role on the flanks for the second half of the season.

Action images via Reuters

Joao Felix

Felix excelled at Fulham in January before being sent off, immediately striking up a good partnership with Kai Havertz and he hasn’t seemed inhibited by Chelsea’s abysmal attacking record this season.

Mykhailo Mudryk

Another of Chelsea’s big signings in January, Mudryk is set to play an important role at Stamford Bridge. His blistering pace sees him hold both the highest recorded speeds in a Premier League and Champions League game this season.

Kai Havertz

With Aubameyang exiled, it feels like the No.9 spot belongs to an out-of-position Havertz. The unconvincing but versatile striker has just six goals in 28 games this season, but it seems too early to start David Datro Fofana upfront.

Subtitles: Mendy, Chalobah, Azpilicueta, Cucurella, Fofana, Kovacic, Mont, Madueke, Aubameyang

Not in today’s team: Bettinelli, Slonina, Koulibaly, Hall, Loftus-Cheek, Zakaria, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka, Andrey Santos, Pulisic, Ziyech, Hutchinson, D Fofana, Broja (off season)

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