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Chelsea to build around ‘elite’ core of Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernández, Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoît Badiashile, and Christopher Nkunku ... and Levi Colwill — report

The new guard

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Chelsea FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images

Chelsea’s season is effectively over and while we have seven games still left in the Premier League, attentions are (or at least should be) turning towards next season.

Step one in that process has to be (or at least should be) to trim the squad, which got bloated to above 30 thanks to our January spending spree and subsequent injury recoveries. Moving on some of those players will not be easy considering our sunk cost and their high wages — with 10+ needing to make way — but that’ll be just another baptism by fire for the new ownership.

As far as who all gets to stay, earlier this week, The Telegraph laid out the “elite” core who are the only untouchable ones in the squad: Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernández, Mykhailo Mudry, Benoît Badiashile, Christopher Nkunku, and Levi Colwill.

Two of those players are not even currently with the team — Nkunku’s an unconfirmed pre-agreed transfer while Colwill’s on loan at Brighton — but perhaps the more interesting part is who isn’t listed, such as Kai Havertz, Mateo Kovačić, or Raheem Sterling. Ben Chilwell might be an oversight, especially after signing a new contract extension the other day, and surely not every young player will get a mention otherwise, but Mason Mount, for example, isn’t there and gets only brought up in terms of his increasingly loudly rumored move to Liverpool. Conor Gallagher, also linked with potential moves, isn’t mentioned either, and the silence is similarly deafening at the goalkeeper position, where no one gets mentioned.

Either way, let’s hope this New Guard follow in the trophy-filled footsteps of the one-time Old Guard.

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