Chelsea should offload Marcos Alonso and sign John Stones as part of their summer rebuild, according to Paul Merson. Chelsea must be ready...
Chelsea should offload Marcos Alonso and sign John Stones as part of their summer rebuild, according to Paul Merson.
Chelsea must be ready to part ways with Marcos Alonso and sign a more ball playing defender like John Stones, to help improve their defensive woes heading into next season.
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson believes the Blues struggled badly in defence this season because they had the wrong personnel and new arrivals must be secured if Frank Lampard's men are to improve next season.
Chelsea secured top four and Champions League after beating Wolves 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Despite this achievement, the Blues had the worst defence in the top half of the Premier league this season.
Lampard's men have been particularly vulnerable from set pieces and have been looking for new players to address this issue.
The new signings Chelsea have made so far are attackers (Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner).
Merson believes a new centre-back should be a priority, while he also wants Chelsea to upgrade at left-back after a number of questionable performances from Marcos Alonso which have put his team-mates in trouble.
Speaking about Chelsea on Sky Sports, the former England midfielder-turned-pundit said: “Their priority has to be getting a centre-half and a left-back. 100 per cent.
“It tells you everything that they have to play three at the back, Frank Lampard doesn’t trust the centre-backs.
“They’ve bought well so far up front, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are major signings. But don’t end up like Arsenal, where everyone is crying out and can see what they need.
“How many years did we say Arsene Wenger needs a centre-half, but he never went and got one?
“Marcos Alonso for me needs replacing; he gets vital goals but he’s not a natural defender.
“That doesn’t help the back three because centre-halves have to come out of their comfort zone and come out of the line of the box to defend on the wings. Alonso causes that problem.
“Cesar Azpilicueta is a great pro, but he’s getting on now. Kurt Zouma has a mistake in him. Chelsea don’t have a naturally-gifted centre-half who can put his foot on the ball and play.”
Merson believes this problem can be solved if Chelsea get a defender like John Stones, who has been out of favour under Pep Guardiola this season.
“Stones has the potential to be great, he really has, but he needs the confidence. At the moment Chelsea have three centre-halves that aren’t in the same class as Stones on the ball.”
John Stones has made just 24 appearances across all competitions in 2019/20 and is a target for Arsenal.