Chelsea’s best XI after eight signings in wild January transfer window

Enzo Fernandez joins Chelsea

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Chelsea boss Graham Potter walked into a star-studded squad when he took the job late last year, but it has been made considerably better during a free-spending January transfer window. More than £500million has been spent over the past few months, with a large chunk of that attributed to eight winter arrivals, and Express Sport takes you through how they will impact the Blues’ extravagant first XI…

Goalkeeper: Kepa

Teenage prodigy Gabriel Slonina was signed in the summer but he could be years away from challenging the pecking order between the sticks at Stamford Bridge. Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy are still the duo fighting it out for minutes, and it’s the former who seems to have earned Potter’s trust. 

Kepa’s Chelsea career started shambolically with a string of errors eventually seeing him replaced by Mendy, who made an instant impact and contributed to a shock Champions League triumph in his first season. The Senegalese’s form has slid since then, however, demoting him to number two. 

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Defence: Fofana, Silva, Badiashile

Potter certainly isn’t lacking for options at centre-back as Cesar Azpilicueta, Kalidou Koulibaly and Trevoh Chalobah could form an entirely separate back-three. That’s not to mention the promising Levi Colwill, who will return from a loan spell with Brighton at the end of the season. 

Wesley Fofana is yet to get out of first gear at Stamford Bridge as injuries continue to stunt his progress, but he has all the makings of a first-team defender for years to come. As does 21-year-old Benoit Badiashile, signed last month from Monaco, while experienced campaigner Thiago Silva refuses to age, retaining more than enough grit and class to anchor the trio. 

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Midfield: James, Fernandez, Kante, Chilwell

Potter has had to experiment with full-backs since taking over from the axed Thomas Tuchel, with both Reece James and Ben Chilwell spending weeks on the sidelines. Those drafted in to deputise have failed to prove that they are worthy of retaining their spot, and the English duo’s return will be a major boost for Blues fans. French starlet Malo Gusto could challenge for a spot on the right when he leaves Lyon at the end of the season, although that’s a dilemma for another day. 

Enzo Fernandez’s move from Benfica was the biggest deal of all in January, and the £107m man is likely to slot straight into a midfield partnership after being crowned Best Young Player at the 2022 World Cup. Mateo Kovacic may have a case to partner him, as could new signing Andrey Santos in years to come, but N’Golo Kante’s return from injury would grant Chelsea extra energy and defensive solidity in the middle of the park. 

Attack: Sterling, Felix, Mudryk

It says something about the current situation when the £88m package shelled out for Mykhaylo Mudryk is only the second-biggest deal Chelsea sanctioned in January. The Ukrainian impressed in a brief cameo off the bench against Liverpool, leaving Chelsea supporters wanting more ahead of Fulham’s trip to Stamford Bridge on Friday. 

Raheem Sterling prefers to play on the left but he could be shifted out to the right to accomodate Mudryk, while the central role should be wide open for Joao Felix to take after showing a series of sharp touches and passes on his debut, only to be shown a straight red card and miss the next three games. 

January arrivals Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana have both shown promise at their previous clubs, although it seems unlikely that they will be thrown in as starters straight away. 

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