Harry Kane, Declan Rice & Emi Martinez - 14 transfer options for Chelsea as Mauricio Pochettino eyes new spine with Premier League experience

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Incoming Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino wants experienced Premier League players to form the spine of his team, but who could he target?

Despite the fact he is still waiting in the wings as he prepares to be appointed Chelsea manager, Mauricio Pochettino is already laying out his vision for the club behind closed doors. What is evident is that a clearout of the bloated squad will be a priority after the uninhibited splashing of the cash in the past two transfer windows, but the Argentine will be planning some more targeted spending, too.

The latest reports suggest he will not cast his net far, seeking players with Premier League experience as he looks to reshape the spine of his new-look Chelsea side, with a goalkeeper, a striker and a midfielder top of his shopping list. Of course, that will immediately bring certain names into sharp focus given Pochettino's strong links with another London club, but there are plenty of others who could fit the bill.

Below, GOAL assesses the potential Premier League options for Chelsea and Pochettino in the transfer window.

  1. Harry Kane
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    Harry Kane

    There's no way Pochettino doesn't harbour some ambition of luring Harry Kane to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea desperately need a new striker and, aside from Man City goal machine Erling Haaland, Kane is the best in the business in the Premier League.

    It'd be an audacious and hugely challenging transfer to pull off, but Chelsea's owners and transfer negotiators have already demonstrated that they possess the finances and ruthlessness to push deals through when they really want their man - no matter the cost.

  2. David Raya
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    David Raya

    Brentford's David Raya is widely expected to be on the move when the window opens having turned down recent contract offers from the Bees. The Spaniard has adapted seamlessly to life in the Premier League, developing into a complete goalkeeper - with his ability to play out from the back particularly impressive.

    However, a £40m ($50m) price tag will raise eyebrows and Pochettino may feel the club would be better served turning to the European market for a truly world-class No.1, or a player with that potential. Despite his quality, at 27 Raya may have already hit his ceiling.

  3. Romeo Lavia
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    Romeo Lavia

    Pochettino wants a new No.6 and NXGN Nine inductee Romeo Lavia fits the bill in that sense. The 19-year-old has defied his tender years this season, looking like a seasoned professional at the heart of an otherwise struggling Southampton team.

    Lavia's press resistance, ball-carrying ability and progressive passing - added to his physicality and tackling - make him the archetypal modern defensive midfielder, and he could be available at a cut price, with the Saints all but certain to suffer relegation.

  4. Ivan Toney
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    Ivan Toney

    If Chelsea's hypothetical pursuit of Kane falls flat, then Ivan Toney could be the ideal alternative. He possesses all of the attributes of some of the great Chelsea strikers of the modern era, and he has proven that he has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League after two very good seasons in the top flight, during which he's shown clear improvement to hit the 20-goal mark.

    The Blues have had some infamous failures with big-money striker signings in the past, but given he would come cheaper than the likes of Kane or Napoli's Victor Osimhen, Toney may be seen as a relatively low-risk option. However, an impending ban for betting offences could be a major stumbling block.

  5. Amadou Onana
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    Amadou Onana

    Chelsea's interest in Amadou Onana was well documented in January but things have gone a little quiet in the months since. However, you would not be surprised to see the west London club return for the Everton man in the summer.

    Onana has fallen out of favour under Sean Dyche, and he may now be more tempted by an exit having decided to stay put at the start of the year. He is the kind of technical midfield destroyer who would fit Pochettino's high-intensity system perfectly. Even if he wouldn't necessarily start, Onana would provide the kind of quality depth that you need across the course of a long season.

  6. Alexis Mac Allister
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    Alexis Mac Allister

    Could an Argentina World Cup reunion be on the cards at Stamford Bridge? You can imagine Pochettino would be very keen to see his compatriots Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister alongside each other in the centre of midfield.

    Chelsea desperately need more goal contributions from all areas of the pitch, and Mac Allister has emerged as one of the Premier League's best goalscoring midfielders this season. However, the Blues will face plenty of competition from the likes of Manchester United and there may be question marks over his physicality, depending on who is deployed alongside him.

  7. Jordan Pickford
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    Jordan Pickford

    A man with vast Premier League experience who has played on the biggest stage with his country, Chelsea have been linked with Pickford in the past and he will likely be on their goalkeeper shortlist once again in the coming months.

    Although he is prone to a high-profile rush of blood to the head, Pickford has developed into an excellent all-round goalkeeper whose ability to play out from the back is one of his main assets. That will immediately make him an attractive proposition for any club searching for a new goalkeeper.

  8. Declan Rice

    Declan Rice

    Declan Rice is certain to be at the centre of one of the summer's biggest transfer sagas when the window opens. Chelsea are likely to be in the mix, although it seems they will face stiff competition from Arsenal in particular.

    Rice has developed into one of the most complete central midfielders in the Premier League and would be the ideal signing to bolster Chelsea's ranks, especially with several players including Mateo Kovacic set to depart. Pochettino may have to lean heavily on Rice's friendship with Mason Mount and close links to the Blues to get a deal over the line.

  9. Ollie Watkins
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    Ollie Watkins

    A left-field option, but not necessarily one Chelsea should turn their noses up at. Although Pochettino may not want to rely on him as his main No.9, Watkins has demonstrated that he can be a reliable source of goals in the Premier League.

    The 27-year-old has hit double figures three seasons in a row and seems to be approaching his peak. He'd come a lot cheaper than a lot of the other names Chelsea have been linked with, although it remains to be seen whether an elite team could depend on him to consistently net 20+ times in a season.

  10. Moises Caicedo
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    Moises Caicedo

    Chelsea turned to Brighton's Moises Caicedo in January when it seemed their move for Enzo Fernandez would prove too complex to pull off. As it was, the Blues managed to land their primary target - but Caicedo will certainly still be on their radar as a defensive midfield option.

    As well as sharing Enzo's passing ability, the Ecuadorian is exceptional out of possession and has already developed a reputation as one of the league's finest tacklers. Once again, Chelsea will face plenty of competition for his signature, with Arsenal coming close to landing him in January, but if they want their man they will push until the bitter end.

  11. Joao Palhinha

    Joao Palhinha

    One of the signings of the summer across west London, Chelsea will wish it was them and not Fulham who spent just £20 million ($25m) on Joao Palhinha last summer. The Portugal international has emerged as one of the most efficient and consistent defensive midfielders in England, becoming synonymous with perfectly-timed crunching challenges and picking up the odd yellow card.

    His price tag will have risen exponentially this season, but Chelsea would probably back themselves to lure Palhinha from their neighbours. Whether he offers the kind of creativity that the Blues have been severely lacking is another question, however.

  12. James Ward-Prowse
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    James Ward-Prowse

    Along with Lavia, teams will be queuing up to poach James Ward-Prowse from Southampton, should their relegation be confirmed as expected. The midfielder has been the picture of consistency in an inconsistent Saints side, and the fact he is always fit, homegrown and an England international makes him a sound option.

    Of course, Pochettino worked with Ward-Prowse during his time at St. Mary's, and it's clear they had a good rapport. Speaking in 2021, the midfielder said: “He (Pochettino) impressed me so much as a young player. You could see the level of detail he was operating at, and he wanted to give young players a chance. He trusted me.”

  13. Emiliano Martinez

    Emiliano Martinez

    Emi Martinez's meteoric rise to prominence has been remarkable, and the World Cup winner could be in line for his biggest move yet this summer. A new goalkeeper is on the agenda for Pochettino, and his compatriot will likely be on his shortlist as he seeks Premier League experience.

    It would not be a simple deal to pull off, with Aston Villa pushing for European football and Chelsea unable to provide that next season, but Martinez would surely be tempted by the opportunity to return to London and join a club that should be back in the Champions League in future seasons.

  14. Boubacar Kamara

    Boubacar Kamara

    Another player Chelsea and plenty of others slept on last summer as Aston Villa signed Boubacar Kamara on a free transfer from Marseille, in what has proven to be an incredibly shrewd piece of business. Although he has struggled with injuries at times this season, the classy midfield operator has become a key cog in Unai Emery's resurgent Villa side.

    Still just 23 and already a full France international, Kamara has huge potential and would certainly provide quality depth at the very least. Chelsea are of course not in a position to be picky given that they won't be able to offer Champions League football, but Kamara seemingly fits within the bracket of players who would be willing to sacrifice that.