2024 threatened to be a challenging summer for Chelsea before the Blues cut ties with nearly all the senior players on expiring deals.
Out went Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Cesar Azpilicueta, raising a hefty sum of money and reducing the burden of contract talks over the next 12 months.
There are, however, still three tricky decisions which need to be made heading into this summer.
The only flight risk in Mauricio Pochettino’s senior squad is 39-year-old centre-back Thiago Silva, who is in this situation solely because of his age.
In a squad sorely lacking experience, Silva’s insight is crucial, and there is the obvious case for keeping him around, but Father Time waits for no man and there have been major glimpses that the Brazilian is not the defender he once was anymore.
He’s been a loyal, superb servant to the club since his arrival in 2020. But with so many exciting young centre-backs on the books, it’s time for Chelsea to respectfully bid farewell this summer.
It’s feasible that casual Chelsea fans might not even know who Lucas Bergstrom is. The 21-year-old Finnish goalkeeper has never made a first-team appearance but has often been on the bench across various competitions as a regular in Pochettino’s matchday squads so far this season.
Is Bergstrom likely to become Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper? At this point, it’s unlikely. The Blues are chasing a new stopper and also have 19-year-old Gabriel Slonina lined up for a long-term role, so first-team opportunities do appear limited.
In a world without financial concerns or personal aspirations, Chelsea should look to retain Bergstrom, who has the potential to help out in a squad role for years to come. Whether he’d accept that at this point in his career is a different matter entirely.
The Bergstrom of the first-team before Bergstrom came and took that role, Jamie Cumming is now 24 and seemingly destined for a fresh start this summer.
A graduate of the Cobham academy, Cumming has never played for Chelsea but has well over 100 appearances to his name from loan spells across League One and League Two, and it’s abundantly clear that he has what it takes to be a professional goalkeeper at that sort of level.
It’s time for Cumming to spread his wings and find a new home.