Next season promises to be different from usual for Chelsea. The Blues managed to finish in the top four this season as well as reach the Europa League final. On paper, this presents a modest first season under Maurizio Sarri’s direction. It is certainly enough to warrant giving the Italian another season in charge of the club.

The Blues, however, will not be able to make any new signings during the next two transfer windows after they were found guilty for contravening policy with regards to signing young players in February. This means that the West Londoners will have to do things out of the norm. They will have to offer contract extensions and retain some players who would have otherwise left the club or who were considered surplus to requirements just a few months ago.

Some of these players include substitute goalkeeper Willy Caballero, striker Olivier Giroud and the defender David Luiz. The Blues will also have to look at bringing in players out on loan for integration into the first-team for next season. Players who have proven that they are capable of turning out for the first-team include defender Kurt Zouma as well as Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.

Zouma is a ready-made replacement for veteran defender Gary Cahill. The former Bolton Wanderers defender is due to the leave club this summer after only a few appearances this season and barely see the court in the Premier League. Zouma impressed for Everton, establishing himself as a first-team regular under Marco Silva as a coach and forming a solid defensive partnership along with Michael Keane for the Toffees.

It would not be realistic for Blues fans to expect the club to challenge for major honors next season. Realistically, they can expect them to clinch a top-six finish and to have impressive runs in the Cup competitions on offer.

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