Glen Johnson names the two players Tuchel must replace in the transfer market

Former Chelsea defender Glen Johnson believes the club can become title contenders next season if Thomas Tuchel signs a younger centre-back and a ‘top striker’ like Erling Haaland this summer.

The German will be handed significant funds to invest his squad this summer, having joined the Blues too late into the January transfer window to add any new recruits.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their eight matches under Tuchel, which has helped the club narrow the gap on fourth-placed West Ham in the race for a Champions League spot.

Tuesday’s 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was the most significant of the German’s short reign so far and Chelsea are now favourites to progress to the quarter-finals ahead of the second leg at home.

It was Olivier Giroud’s stunning effort that gave the Blues victory against Diego Simeone’s side, while Thiago Silva, 36, missed the game through injury.

Johnson believes the side are increasingly dependent upon the veterans and Tuchel should address the situation in the summer by finding younger replacements for the pair.

‘I think they need a top, younger centre half and they need a top striker,’ Johnson told Metro.co.uk.

‘Obviously they’ve spent a lot of money in the wide areas and in midfield. I think they’re a far better side with Giroud and he’s the guy that they’ve been trying to get out of the door for the last few years. It shows you that they’ve tried to replace him and haven’t managed to do so.

‘I think a top striker is the main thing. Giroud is 34 now so there’s only so much he can do. The same stands at centre-half because Thiago Silva is different class but his body can’t cope with the Premier League every week.’

Chelsea have been linked with Dortmund superstar Haaland, who has struck 43 goals in 43 games for the Bundesliga giants since joining from RB Salzburg.

The Norwegian, 20, has a release clause in his contract that allows clubs to sign him for around £62million in 2022.

However, Chelsea believe they have a better chance of signing him on the open market this summer and Johnson believes he would be an ‘ideal’ replacement for Giroud.

‘I think someone like Haaland would be ideal,’ said Johnson.

‘He’d be the perfect replacement for Giroud. He’s big, he’s quick, he’s powerful, he’s unbelievable in front of goal.

‘Those sort of signings give a lift to the rest of the dressing room and it would be a real statement if they could pull it off.’

Frank Lampard embarked on a £225m spending spree last summer but notable signings such as Kai Havertz and Timo Werner struggled to hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge, which ultimately cost the club legend his job.

There’s been signs under Tuchel that Werner is finding his feet in west London, even if the German remains guilty of squandering gilt-edged chances in front of goal.

Johnson insists it’s never easy for players to acclimitase to the Premier League and Werner should be given at least this season to settle in.

‘I think he’s a threat,’ continued Johnson.

‘He’s super quick, he’s direct. I think where he’s dropped in confidence, his decision-making has gone wrong.

‘People underestimate the Premier League. It’s not easy for people to be playing in other leagues with a big reputation to turn up in the Premier League and hit the ground running – it’s not as easy as that.

‘I think Werner will become a good player for them. He’s struggled at the moment but he’s still getting the chances, even if he’s missing.’

Glen Johnson was speaking on behalf of Cheltenham Guides and their Cheltenham Festival hamper competition.

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