Merson recommends Chelsea signing and picks out ‘problem’ player
Paul Merson thinks Chelsea should bring in John Stones from Manchester City this summer to transform their defence, while he wants to see Frank Lampard sell Marcos Alonso.
The Blues have strengthened at the top of the pitch already this summer with Timo Werner joining fellow new signing Hakim Ziyech at the club for the start of next season, while a deal for Bayer Leverkusen attacker Kai Havertz feels close.
Chelsea have conceded more goals than anyone in the top half of the Premier League table and there have been calls to strengthen their backline before bringing in more attacking players.
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And Merson reckons they need another centre-back and a left-back if they are to progress next term.
“I’d go and get John Stones for that, and play him in the middle of the three. Then I’d say have Antonio Rudiger and Christensen either side of them,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“Chelsea love to play out the back, they roll it out every time, so you need someone unbelievably good on the ball. If you have pace around them, I think it will help Chelsea; I think Stones would be a great buy, and he has to play in a three.
“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.”
Merson added: “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.
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“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.”