Sort out Lukaku’s future once and for all, sign some central midfielders and keep hold of wonderkid Colwill

Sort out Lukaku’s future once and for all, sign some central midfielders and keep hold of wonderkid Colwill… what’s on Pochettino’s to-do list as he officially gets to work at Chelsea?

  • Pochettino arrived at Chelsea on Monday morning as he officially started work
  • Plenty will change at the club yet before the season gets underway in August
  • He is looking for drastic improvements after an alarmingly bad 22-23 campaign

After being confirmed as Chelsea’s new manager over a month ago, Mauricio Pochettino will finally start work at Stamford Bridge this week.

Photos of the Argentine emerging on social media will be a welcome sight to Chelsea fans who have endured a difficult opening year to Todd Boehly’s ownership. On the pitch, the Blues are a shadow of their former selves.

A 12th-placed finish in last season’s Premier League and just 38 goals in 38 games were results almost beyond supporters’ worst fears as the connection between the terraces and the players on the field suffered. Off the pitch, it’s early days.

Boehly has made mistakes and will doubtless continue to, but he’s pressed the reset button with the appointment of the former Tottenham boss and is in the process of offloading unwanted players from a bloated squad.

But the work is just beginning and Pochettino has now hopped on board to try and steer the ship in what he hopes will be a more positive direction. And below, Mail Sport picks out five things that will be top of the new Chelsea manager’s to-do list.

Mauricio Pochettino has officially begun work as Chelsea manager after arriving on Monday

The new Blues boss, who arrived at Cobham in a grey van, greeted staff before beginning work

He is tasked with turning around the Blues’ fortunes after a disastrous season in 2022-23

Sort out Romelu Lukaku’s future

Romelu Lukaku seemed to be the answer to Chelsea’s prayers when he rejoined the club two years ago in one of the most anticipated deals of the 2021 summer transfer window.

His return soon turned sour however and after sub-par performances on the field and some questionable decisions off it, he was shipped out on loan to former side Inter Milan in a bid to forget nearly £100million had just been spent on his services.

The player doesn’t want to return to Chelsea. Chelsea don’t seem to want the player. The majority of fans don’t either. But there don’t appear to be too many takers, which is an issue for the Blues and Pochettino.

His future needs sorting. Is he going to stay and play a part in Pochettino’s plans going forward, leave on loan again, or are the club willing to take a huge loss and get rid for good?

The Argentinian will have a big say in which option is eventually taken. There aren’t too many signs regarding how he feels right now, but we’ll learn more as he speaks to the press and as potential bids arrive.

Romelu Lukaku’s future remains unclear after he spent last season on loan at Inter Milan

He may still stay at Chelsea but his future will be decided following talks with his new manager

Keep hold of Levi Colwill

Though a Chelsea player, Levi Colwill’s future is far from decided with the 20-year-old yet to make a senior appearance for the club.

He shone on loan at Brighton last season as the Seagulls qualified for Europe – and finished six places above Chelsea – but it’s unlikely he’ll return despite interest and he could find himself being one of the Blues’ most important players this season.

If Pochettino is to go with a back four, it’s likely Colwill will be first choice next to Wesley Fofana or Thiago Silva. There are no guarantees though, and the last thing he’ll want after a breakthrough season is a campaign sat on the bench.

He’s called for crunch talks with Pochettino over his future, with Brighton keen to buy the defender but Chelsea adamant they won’t sell. A £30million approach has already been rejected, and a £40million bid could be on the way soon.

Pochettino will have to ensure the player is happy, while reinforcing the fact that he’ll have to earn his place in the team on merit.

Defender Levi Colwill remains of interest to Brighton, where he played on loan last season

Sign some central midfielders

It seems odd, given the club’s massive spending spree under owner Boehly and their oversized squad, to point out they are short in certain areas, but central midfield is a problem.

Chelsea have been extremely active in the transfer market so far, signing Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson but offloading several players as they try to thin their squad.

While Kai Havertz is perhaps the most high-profile outgoing so far, midfielders like N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have also waved goodbye to the club.

With Denis Zakaria’s loan ending and Mason Mount on his way to Manchester United, the club are desperately low on central midfield options. Enzo Fernandez is the standout player in that position, but there’s not much else.

Conor Gallagher is most likely to fill the role as things stand, but the club need to sign at least one, ideally two, more players to play the position before the end of the transfer window, or they will find themselves struggling and short of depth.

Chelsea are in need of signing some midfielders to play with January recruit Enzo Fernandez

Keep the full-backs fit

Reece James and Ben Chilwell were two of the club’s best players last season, providing threats down both flanks from full-back – or wing-back – in a side that lacked creativity.

The problem was keeping them both fit. James managed just 16 Premier League appearances in the last campaign, while Chilwell registered 23.

That’s a combined 39 appearances in the league out of a possible 76. For the side’s most threatening players, that’s nowhere near the number the club would be looking for.

Both James and Chilwell are ready-made for the attacking system Pochettino is likely to employ. If they do manage to stay fit more often than not, they will provide a great starting point for his plans to take Chelsea back to the top.

The new boss just has to work out a way of doing that. Player-specific fitness and recovery plans will perhaps be on the agenda for the two players.

Reece James (left) and Ben Chilwell (right) have been two of Chelsea’s best players recently

But the difficulty has been keeping them fit, with both players regularly dealing with injuries

Evaluate the litany of young talents

Pochettino showed at Tottenham that he can help develop young players and he’ll be tasked with doing the same again at Chelsea.

After spending big on what he though was ready-made stars last summer, Boehly invested in youth in January with the likes of Mykhaylo Mudryk (22) and Benoit Badiashile (21) arriving at the club.

The list doesn’t stop there in terms of Chelsea’s young talent.

Wesley Fofana (21), Noni Madueke (21), Malo Gusto (19), Carney Chukwuemeka (19), Andrey Santos (19) and Colwill (20) are a handful of other players that Pochettino will be tasked with developing.

Some may leave on loan and some may leave permanently, but, if his past work is anything to go by, the new manager is the perfect man to help develop the young talents the club have at their disposal.

Deciding who stays and trains with the first team, who plays for the youth sides and who goes out on loan will be crucial to deciding their futures.

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