Chelsea transfer news: Todd Boehly’s new recruitment team could be set up to raid Southampton with previous expertise of players at St Mary’s.
Chelsea have the perfect way to bring in new transfers from an experienced source in 2023.
Todd Boehly has acted quickly to ensure that his side are stocked in the recruitment department ahead of upcoming transfer windows and, backed by a commitment to spend money and invest in the club, Graham Potter can expect serious funding.
With improvements expected across the club in January and next summer, Boehly has already added Joe Shields and Laurence Stewart to the senior director positions in a complete transformation and overhaul of the Stamford Bridge structure.
Shields, head of recruitment at Southampton before being snatched up by Chelsea, will join the club when his time at St Mary’s is finished, as will Stewart who joins from Monaco after being technical director there. Sportupdatehub understands that Christopher Vivell is still expected to take a leading role as a sporting director.
It is part of a myriad of changes across the club as Chelsea prepare to change their entire transfer operation and strategy. Shields, who was at Manchester City during the development of Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho, has a brilliant portfolio of work that has attracted Chelsea to him, and it could have further reaching impact for the club’s dealings in upcoming windows.
Although he only recently moved from City to Southampton, it was during a period that has seen Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad revamped with talented young players, including Romeo Lavia – who left the Etihad Stadium to go to the south coast earlier this summer and was reportedly the subject of a late £50million bid from Chelsea.
Here, Sportupdatehub takes a look at those that Shields might want to bring to Stamford Bridge with him.
Other than new midfielders, which will be a priority over the winter and summer windows, Chelsea have already seen the impact that injuries can have on their squad and chiefly in this camp is losing Reece James. Although Potter remains unbeaten in his first nine matches, Chelsea’s two recent draws highlighted the necessity of the fullback in the Blues’ system.
Chelsea chose not to purchase a new right-sided player over the summer with Denzel Dumfries a possible target. Walker-Peters has already been linked with the Blues after some impressive displays last term. His ability to play as a fullback and wingback has been an attraction for Boehly already and given Shields’ connections, it might be the perfect way to solidify Chelsea’s defence.
On a similar note, Tino Livramento is also available to play as a wingback and fullback and has a Chelsea link too.
The 19-year-old only left Stamford Bridge last season and has seen his stock rise after a promising start to last term. Injury has set him back since, but with a £34million release clause ready to activate next summer, Chelsea might be keen to return to their former youth player and offer him more of a pathway.
Liverpool themselves have history of raiding Southampton and purchased Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane across several years. Given Chelsea now have more reason than ever to look into getting Livramento and have the added incentive with Shields, the move may be more likely to get done.
The Southampton captain has been linked with a move away from his boyhood club in recent years and is on the outside of Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Although his contract is until 2026, his stellar 2021/22 campaign – with 10 goals – has reportedly attracted the attention of Liverpool. Chelsea have never been truly linked to the 27-year-old, but with the need for extra midfielders next summer, Ward-Prowse may become someone who Chelsea and Shields look towards in the future.
The 18-year-old, who came from Manchester City to Saints over the summer, impressed against Chelsea during the 2-1 win over Thomas Tuchel’s team earlier this season shortly after running the midfield ragged.
At £50million the bid was massive for a player with just four league appearances at the time. Although Lavia has only just moved, if Chelsea are still keen to go back in for the midfielder then having Shields, who made the same change as him over the summer, might be a way to sweeten the deal.
According to Simon Phillips, Chelsea have added former Portsmouth and Manchester City keeper Bazunu to their radar as the form and contract of Edouard Mendy, on top of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s resurgence, has somewhat changed the situation in the Chelsea goal.
Bazunu is another that has only just moved permanently to Southampton and is the last line of defence in a young team. He’s yet another player that, along with Lavia and Shields, has known the worlds of Man City and Southampton in the recent past.
As one of Southampton’s highly-rated defenders, Salisu’s chances of joining Chelsea may have sailed following Wesley Fofana’s transfer earlier this year.
The 23-year-old was reportedly one of the targets for both Chelsea and Manchester United earlier this year.