Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has set tongues wagging on Sunday, in suggesting that he is on the lookout for up-and-coming talent to add to his defensive ranks.
The subject of the club’s backline has of course represented a headline talking point at Stamford Bridge throughout the summer to date.
This comes owing to the decisions of both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to move on as free agents.
The Blues, in turn, have sealed a move for one high-profile centre-half, in the form of Kalidou Koulibaly.
Work, though, remains to be done.
Another stopper, as a result, hotly tipped for a move to west London over the last couple of weeks comes in the form of Wesley Fofana.
The Leicester City star has long been regarded as one of the Premier League’s standout young defenders, with his return to fitness on the back of a long-term spell on the sidelines having therefore piqued attentions at Chelsea once more.
To this point, the powers that be at the King Power Stadium have stood firm in their massive demands for Fofana, with Brendan Rodgers adamant that his star stopper is not for sale.
As alluded to above, though, fresh comments on the part of Thomas Tuchel this weekend have been widely interpreted as the German hinting that the Pensioners’ Fofana chase is not yet over.
Speaking to the media in the aftermath of Chelsea’s opening day Premier League downing of Everton, Tuchel expressed concern over the age profile of his current defensive options.
In turn, the Blues have set their sights on ‘a new generation’ of stoppers:
“It is a lot of experience, it is maybe another of age, it is a lot of experience and they have their quality and they know what they are doing,” Tuchel began.
“We also need to make sure we have a new generation to take over in the next years but the guys are strong that is why they are under contract and the guys have our trust.
“There needs to be [balance]. I think it is necessary. The game in general is very physical and demands a lot. This is the situation. We knew it before.
“Azpi is the legend that he is, Thiago is in the moment still very important to us and when we had the chance to sign Kalidou we did it because we believe that he has some years ahead of him. But in general it is the fact that like the goalkeeper and the double sixes are in their thirties, and that is just what it is.
“Pace is an issue and speed is an issue. In all signings, this is the demand of the game that you can play one on ones, that you can defend space if needed with high-speed runs.”